Thursday, December 30, 2010

Almost Time

The year is almost up, and I can barely wrap my mind around it. So much has changed. Nothing has changed. Sometimes I can't seem to conceptualize how this thing called life works, and yet, I love it. Life is such an adventure. I'm so excited to see what's on the next page.

Stay tuned for stories about the holidays, new books, classic experiences, latest loves, and everything in-between.

Happy (almost) New Year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Delayed December

I had grand plans of writing a few blog posts before the end of this week- one about a perfect Sunday spent making sugar cookies and watching classic movies with my roommate Karleen, another one about meeting Kathryn Stockett, and one about my goals for winter break. Obviously, I didn't quite get there, but that's okay. Instead, I caught up with friends, celebrated Jewels being DONE with her college career, finished my third semester of grad school, and washed the mountain of laundry that has been taking over my closet. I'll get to those blog posts after my trip to the Magic Kingdom with my family and after Christmas with the extended Hutchins family in Sandy. Happy holidays and safe traveling everyone! Bye for now.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Have I said...

Have I said lately that I ADORE my Grandma Joan? She is one of my favorite people on the planet. If I ever have any doubts about whether I belong with my family, I look to her and know that I’m home. My grandma is the reason I look forward to holidays and family dinners. LOVE her so, so much. (This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandma - not glamorous, but her incredulity over Brett smashing cake into Jewels' mouth was one of the highlights of that wedding day.)

My ethics teacher shared this quote a few weeks ago, and I keep thinking about it. Brilliant concept – “The sad truth of the matter is that most evil is done by people who never made up their mind to be either bad or good.” ~Hannah Arendt

Life is hard. A few of my besties (yes, high school student lingo still crops up where it shouldn’t) are dealing with sad/maddening/tragic situations. I hope they know they are loved, and there are people who will do anything to make their days better. If I can’t help the situation, then I’m happy to come over and cry with you. Like Dolly Parton’s character said in “Steel Magnolias,” “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” Amen Dolly. Amen.

Tres Semme Dry Shampoo – magical beauty product. Anything that makes it so I don’t have to blow dry and straighten my hair every day and costs less than $5 earns high marks from me.

Did you see “Catfish” (it was a movie if that is totally out of the blue for you)? I’m still disturbed by how drawn in we can be to the technological scene – facebook, blogs, etc. are great, but we need to form real relationships. Where are we spending our time?

I told Hill last week that I procrastinate with cleaning. Hillary laughed out loud and then kept laughing. She called herself Scrooge, and I laughed at that. Woodland creatures dress Hill and her daughters in the morning because they are that wonderful (anybody seen the beginning of “Grease”? - that’s Hill, Ellie, and Baby Roo). Moral of the story – Hill and I, while occasionally unconventional to other people, have more fun talking about mundane things than most people have doing fabulously, exciting things. Love her!

Should vegetarians eat animal crackers? It was someone else’s question, but I laughed for a long time when I heard it.
If you're majoring in English, you're majoring in death. Again, someone else’s comment, but I think it’s hilarious, perfectly true, and mildly disturbing.

The professor that I work for said, “We can't expect a deep meaningfulness from our calling unless we're willing to assume its burdens as well.” (Jeff Thompson) I was more than willing to absorb the burdens of teaching. Not sure what my calling is now, but I am trying to figure it out.

Final thoughts – I love being a second year – lots to do, but fantastic support network and way less stress. I think I’m moving to Seattle after graduation – it’s not for sure and no, I don’t have a job there yet…but I think it may be the place for me. Naturally, I'll keep you posted on those developments as they are pretty life-altering....

Better get back to studying for finals. Thinking about you always!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


RevolutionRevolution by Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New York. Paris. Headstrong teenage girl. Recent tragedy. Absent authority figures. French Revolution. Handsome (and naturally mysterious) stranger. Classical guitar. Fireworks. Louis XVI's dead sons' heart. Okay - I lost you on that last one, but up until the dead boy's heart, you were interested. Donnelly's latest book, "Revolution" is great - perhaps not as spectacular as "Northern Light" - but still very good. It helps that I am borderline obsessed with France and the French Revolution, so anything that references Versailles or the Eiffel Tower earns extra points. Simply said, I was captivated by this story to the point that I abandoned sleep, school work, and other practical pursuits in order to finish it. The two stories told simultaneously were haunting and beautiful. Really, really liked it and let's be honest, loved the cover.

The Art of Possibility

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal LifeThe Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, I should have reviewed this book when I finished it in October. The specifics have become rusty as end of semester chaos envelops my brain. That said, I loved this book. It's not a perfect book, but this look at the immense possibility we have in our lives is great. I felt better about life with each subsequent chapter as Roz and Ben Zander explored different ways we can transform our personal and professional lives. It is a book that I will be picking up again come the end of grad school as I prepare to establish what my "adult" life is going to look like. Read it and then call me - I can't wait to hear what you thought!

ps. I am fully aware that I described very little of what is actually in this book, but if the number of margin comments or post-its sticking out of the book are any indication, this book has dozens of takeaways...far too many to do justice to in a mini-review. Let's just say that I have thought of this book every day since I finished it and am trying to embrace more possibility in my life. Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Love List

I made another one of those lists of the things that I was excited and not-so-excited about a couple weeks ago on one of my desktop stickie notes. Amazing that the season has changed so quickly and that I didn’t just post this when I had the thoughts in the first place…

-storm coming (loving the clouds swirling around the mountains)
-Pixar description podcast
-leaves strewn across the street
-Mad Men season two conclusion (wow – such a GOOD show)
-new holiday catalogs for Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, and Pottery Barn
-Jenessa's college essays (did we catch COLLEGE)
-going to see Stage Door with a great group of girls and going to The Chocolate for dessert
-book club at Melissa’s
-real emails that remind me of how much I love writing and receiving letters
-Patrick Wilson (Morning Glory is not a great movie, but he is perfectly delectable. I kept waiting for him to sing…)
-remembering Brent Collette – hard to believe that he’s been gone 10 years and yet he's still teaching us (definitely could not have foretold then that his oldest son would marry one of my best friends)
-Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday
-new sweats
-Giants shirt that says World Champions
-Rachel being out of the hospital and on the mend
-catching up with Meg (miss that girl so much)
-online book club starting (
-Christmas lights around my mac dashboard
-phone calls that distract from to do lists
-having red streaks in my hair
-making paper chains while watching Felicity
(not so good - sugar free jello pudding)
-reading parties and walks in the hail (yes, we voluntarily did that) with Matt
-finding a note with an Ashley Kimball comment (She asked me this summer,"Did you ever think you're not meant to fly under the radar?" Long story, but this girl has been teaching me powerful lessons since we were in high school. Miss her all the time.)
-Alanis randomly playing in a mix (isn’t it ironic how much I still LOVE her)
(krazy glue all over my fingers -boo)
-Maria visiting
-early morning sunrises over snow capped mountains
-teaching my first college class (it was a one time experience, but very cool just the same)
-looking forward to Harry Potter and the holiday break
-working on my “30 things before 30” list

Monday, November 29, 2010

Me in a Box

I am a semi-organized packrat. Opening the boxes I have hidden away in my parents’ house is always an adventure because there is no way to predict what you’ll find. While I was visiting Alamo for the holiday, I ventured into the random closets packed to the eaves with remnants of my life in search of high school t-shirts (I’m on a quest to make a t-shirt quilt. More on that later.). When I finally stumbled across the last remaining cotton CV survivors, it was rather entertaining all the other mementos of memory lane were safely tucked alongside the t-shirts...

*Versailles book bought with love for too many French Francs on my first European adventure (with Renoir bookmark safely tucked inside of the famous dancing couple)
*German Barbie, still in its box (don’t ask – still not sure why I can’t throw this away)
*Signed book that my mom gave me for Christmas years ago (don’t even really like the book, but the author signed it which makes me unable to part with it)
*Not one, but two checkerboard cake pans
*Teddy bear (one of the originals that I’ve had since infancy with a chipped black nose and red fabric heart)
*Barnaby teddy bear with very long legs from Hillary
*Giants pennant
*Clayton Valley academic letter
*CV leadership shirt
*Senior women shirt
*Wrigley Field shirt
*T-ball trophy from my one and only year on a baseball field with the 1990 Twins
*Junior prom shoes (love those shoes more than I care to admit - sparkly silver Nina heels)
*Cherished Teddy figurines (why exactly did I pay so much money for those?)
*HS graduation tassels and cords
*2nd grade cross-stitch
*Great-grandmother’s bone china teacups and saucers
*Girls Camp whistle (with five years of beads attached)
*Musical programs (Wicked, Les Miserables (4 total – one signed by the cast), Mamma Mia, Blood Brothers, Starlight Express, Phantom of the Opera (1 actual program, 1 Curran Theater version), Thoroughly Modern Mille, Shakespeare Festival (Cedar City when I saw Twelfth Night)
*Playbills (Millie 2 from back-to-back nights in NYC), Wicked (one show in SF and one in LA), Miss Saigon (SLC), Phantom of the Opera (SF), Mamma Mia (SF), Les Mis (Sacramento, SF), Sea Farer (Marin), Utah Shakespearean Festival (Cedar)
*Tigers soccer trophy 1988 (is it totally mind-blowing to anyone else that this was 22 years ago)
*Jaclyn Lane sign (never appreciated until now that my grandpa probably had to have it made since my name never shows up in stories)
*Pepsi (nickel drink worth a dime) old-fashioned sign
*Kindergarten hand print
*Soccer picture plaque from the 1993 Krazy Kickers
*Gumby patch (one of many of that I had during middle school - glad I personally helped keep Claires in business)
And a few other odds and ends (ribbons, rings, fabric scraps)

Not sure why I have all that still especially since that is just one box of many, but I loved going through it just the same. Pretty fun to find me in a box.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Taking Care of Baby Mikhael

The best part of my MPA experience is the people I have had a chance to meet. Michael Gray and his wife Rachel are two of those people. Their beautiful baby boy, Mikhael, has just been diagnosed with leukemia. Michael graduated from the program this past April and still has yet to find a job. Mikhael has already begun chemotherapy and will be in the hospital for a month at a time with only a week at home in-between treatment rounds. They don't have insurance, and they are desperately trying to make ends meet. If you are able, please donate to their their pledgie account (where you can also read more about what is happening for the Gray family) to help cover Mikhael's medical costs. Happy Thanksgiving. Love you all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

snowflakes and a procrastinating grad student

it's trying to snow outside and i just want to watch the wind swirl the leaves. i'm trying to write a paper. i have a feeling the snow storm will be more successful than i am since i keep doing anything but write my paper. the goal was to have a solid draft by 3:10pm (yes i was that specific). the draft needs to be six pages long. i'm on page two. whether i finish the draft by my goal time or not, the paper will be done by 8am tomorrow, and then i will be on my way to tahoe for thanksgiving. the question is how insane the next 18 hours will be. oddly enough, i determine my own sanity (or lack thereof). maybe that walk in the wind and hail wasn't such a good idea last night....oh well, catch ya on the flipside. ps. 705 pages (if you don't count the textbooks i was never planning on reading anyway) left to read before november 30th. grad school truly is a delight.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Great House

Great HouseGreat House by Nicole Krauss
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can sum up my experience with this book in two words: unrealistic expectations. I loved Krauss' "The History of Love" and fully expected to be enchanted again. Throw in that I expected a novel (not four short stories strung together), and you have an unfulfilling reading experience. Does Krauss still have a gift for setting haunting scenes and forcing the reader to look at issues and feelings we're afraid of? Absolutely, but it's not enough. The overall effect is sad and disturbing - no character is really lovable. They're too broken or too bizarre. The desk (yes, an inanimate object) that links all the characters is perhaps the best piece of the story because it carries so much weight, so much mysterious power....

Maybe if I had expected the short story style, this may have been a three-star book, but I sadly think you should skip and read something else...

Personal Destinies

Personal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical IndividualismPersonal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism by David L. Norton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are brilliant one-liners in this book buried beneath antiquated vocabulary and dense philosophical text. Those one-liners could alter your view on the world, but it's so hard to find them. So, I wouldn't recommend this unless you are feeling exceptionally academic.

If you want more details, you can read my paper on the book...once I write it. Better get started since it's due Monday......


Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessMindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I should have reviewed Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” when I first finished it. I didn’t because I could not sum up my reaction. Simply said, this book is a life-changer. It focuses in the difference between a growth mindset (exactly as it sounds – someone who believes they can grow and progress) and a fixed mindset (someone who believes talent/intelligence/etc cannot be developed, but rather believes that everyone only has certain level of skill or potential that can be achieved). Dweck takes you through how those mindsets are developed and how they affect our lives. This book is a must-read both individuals, for spouses, for parents, for teachers, etc, etc. Yes, Dweck gets long-winded (PhD’s tend to do that), but the concepts are exceptionally worthwhile.

So despite the inarticulate review, pick it up. I’ll be rereading it once I graduate and have a little more time on my hands. And if you ever want to talk about it, I am happy to oblige!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Online Book Club

I LOVE reading. I LOVE talking about reading. All of which obviously means that I LOVE book clubs. I think it's high time we start an online book club. So many of my favorite reader friends are strewn across the country, so why not create a focused forum for discussion. The idea is that we would read one book a month that we as a group would select and then discuss it via a blog. If you would like to join us in this reading adventure, please post a comment with your email (or if you'd rather, you can email me directly) so I can make sure to include you. The goal is to have a book chosen for December in the next couple weeks. Can't wait to start! Happy reading--
{ps. these are not my bookshelves, but I wish they were - it's a photo from a home decorating blog called - isn't it amazing!}

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Countdown

As many of you know, I LOVE counting down to things. I make paper chains like a second grader to count down to the end of the school year, my sister visiting, or upcoming trips. The countdowns on my computer dashboard include--

Maria Visiting!!: 5 days, 3 hours
Harry Potter 7!!!: 12 days, 7 hours
Disneyland!!: 41 days, 4 hours
Graduation!!!: 166 days, 22 hours

Now it's time to add a new countdown - Jaime Ford, the author of "The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", announced on his blog recently that his book is being turned into a movie! I know a lot of you read this book this past year after we talked about it - you loved it just like I did and so now we have something great to look forward to. It's still in development so there is no definite release date, but I'll keep you posted. Can't wait!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


What can I say that does justice to how exciting Orange October has been?! I went to Game One of the World Series - nearly cried through the whole first hour I was there. Tonight the Giants won not only the pennant, but the WORLD SERIES. Dream come true.
[ps. This is the 200th post of my blog. I cannot think of a more fitting topic.]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paramount Love

On days when I'm bored at school, I often find myself thinking of this place and the day that Maria and I spent there in August. While we were there, we saw this through the glass of the gift shop (where they cunningly make you wait to start your Paramount Studios tour). Not sure what you're looking at? Notice the WMHS cheer costume? This meant they were filming GLEE on the lot that day. Only a few minutes later, we saw HIM (him, of course, being Matt Morrison aka Will Schuester). Now, I know you can't see him in this small of a picture, but the gentleman in the brown shirt and jeans is our Mr. Schuester. We resisted the urge to take a picture when he was close....but wanted to document our adventure. We saw some other good-looking gentlemen come out of trailers just like these. Marble rye bread anyone? Can you say "Life is like a box of chocolates"? Tom Hanks did while sitting on this bench. All in all, it was a great day. Couldn't have had more fun with Maria on a perfectly sunny L.A. day.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Life Lessons from a High School DropoutA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Life Lessons from a High School Dropout by Michael J. Fox
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Normally I don't rate "smaller" books - by that I mean, children's books or books that aren't novel length. However, since you all know about my mild obsession with Fox's written work and his foundation, I had to let you know that I read his most recent book. It's good, not great. It's a let-down if you've already read his other books, but probably pretty funny if you haven't. A few great one-liners (per Fox's perpetual hilarity) and a few good things to think about.... Short review made a little bit longer - I wouldn't choose this as my first choice for a graduation gift. I would definitely pick Maria Shriver's "10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out into the Real World" first.

*Just have to say that I love the title. Talk about a great hook.

Defining Moments

Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and RightDefining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I will spare you the long-winded details of another school book review. One quick thought – this book is about work choices and life choices and moments in which the two types of choices become hopelessly intertwined. These definng moments usually reveal something important about our basic values and about our commitments in life. This is not to say that defining moments or hard decisions create new values. Rather, these moments simply make clear the things that matter most to us (whether they be principles or priorities).

Reading Badaracco’s book, I found myself reflecting on the moments that have defined much of who I am thus far and also considering what defining moments I will face in the future. It’s interesting to consider the seemingly simple moments that actually affected everything that came after. I also was left thinking about who I am and who I am trying to be and how that fits into my personal ethics – essentially I did everything my ethics professor could have hoped for…oh, and I fell in love with Nietzsche (Can’t confidently pronounce his name, but I am in love with his idea of self and with living our “best life” – JW- if you were here, I think we would have lots to talk about)….

Good to Great

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don'tGood to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by Jim Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not very often that a book comes along and says something original. Generally, especially books about best practice in business just reinvent the wheel – tell us the same thing we have heard before but in more current jargon. Collins’ “Good to Great” is the price of purchase though. He presents the challenge of companies that are defined as good, bad, mediocre, and everything in-between and the quest to become great. Collins does not provide a quick-fix answer – perhaps why I trust his and his research team’s findings.

“Good to Great” has introduces pivotal ideas – ones that we probably should have come up with on our own, but ones that needed to be shared just the same. For example, in a company, we need to get the right people on the bus (bus being the company), get the wrong people off, and then the right people in the right seats. The idea is simple – we need good people working for us, and anyone who distracts from the company mission/purpose, should not be there. However, it also shows how critical it is to get people doing the right things. We can have an exceptionally skilled individual wasting their effectiveness in the wrong position.

All that said, those of you who are not business people, Collins’ principles apply to you too. In our lives, we have things that we need to do to be successful and things that hinder our progress. In fact, we also have good things that we do that do not actually get us where we want to be. Our busses may not entail getting other people on board, but they do entail getting our activities/efforts/desires/etc. to all push us towards the greatness that is possible.

Collins spends a large portion of his book suggesting that we need to embrace the often obvious, but difficult facts of business and/or life. We need to streamline what we do and put all our efforts into those things that will help us or our companies achieve our ultimate goals. He says, “There is nothing wrong with pursuing a vision for greatness…but…the good-to-great companies continually refined the path to greatness with the brutal facts of reality.” I love that. Great counsel to continue aspiring, but to aspire within the framework of what can actually be.

Would I recommend this to everyone? No, it’s definitely not a page-turner in the same way that “The Hunger Games” is. However, it is an excellent book. You just have to be interested in the topic in the first place.
[ps. Definitely a personal goal to stop settling for being good and to aspire for greatness...]

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Despite what people might think, I am not a goal setter. I feel like I don’t know what I want so how do I set a goal to get there. I knew I wanted to teach, and so I made that happen. I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted a master’s degree. The economy (or God) made that happen sooner than I had planned. Now fourteen months into my program, I realize that I NEED to set goals. Life is coming at me in a major way, and I need to prepare for it or at least embrace reality. For the first time in my life, there is no real path – no place I expect to go. Most people would soak in the possibilities, and instead I allow myself to be swallowed up in uncertainty.

More than a year ago, I read a post on Janssen’s “Everyday Reading” blog about setting huge life goals. It’s taken me all this time to even try writing something down. She framed her goals around these questions-

What you want to become
What you want to do
What you want to achieve
Places you want to visit/live
Things you want to have
People you want to meet

There are so many things that I want out of life to the point that I feel almost unable to pin them all down. Here though is the beginning of my list (because you have to start somewhere):

I want to be a published writer. I don’t know what that means yet – whether it’s writing an actual book, a short story, or simply a review of someone else’s work – either way, I want to do it.

I want to live in Europe, most likely in England, for at least a year. The fact that I want to travel as often as possible almost goes without saying next to that.

I want to sing in a trio with my sisters. This, of course, means that I have to learn a bit more about singing so that I don’t embarrass them.

Like I said – just the beginning of the list. Notice that I said nothing about my life’s work. I don’t know yet. I know I want to make people’s lives better but I don’t know how exactly I am going to do that.
It's been really interesting to think about what I want to do with my life in the long-term. I'm excited to keep working on my list and working toward achieving those things.

Dr. Thompson, the Organizational Behavior professor that I work with, calls huge overarching goals BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). He did not coin that term, but he is the one that introduced it to me. I need to be more audacious in my goals – I’m working on it.

Hope you are too. The possibilities, as I used to say in high school, are endless.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Little Things That Make My World Go Round

One of the signature elements of being in grad school is how disjointed my thoughts tend to be. There are definitely some class periods or nights spent doing homework where my brain seems to be bouncing between fifteen things. Or worse – my “to do” lists are unstructured – school things mixed in with people to call or bills to pay. What does this have to do with this blog post? Simply that the list is all over the place – no rhyme, no reason – just things that help make my world go round…

*This past week, we had our first dustings of snow on Timp. All the winter haters start panicking, and I start listening to David Archuleta singing “O Holy Night” – can’t help myself. This also means we’ve had lots of rain and I get to wear scarves again. It’s a good life.
*Lit Y – BYU homecoming week means that the Y is lit on the mountain. At night, you can see the Y from anywhere in the valley. I love that.
*Mad Men – this show is brilliantly researched and executed. The acting, the writing, the costumes, the…is superb. That said, it is set in masochistic 1960s corporate America (translated: boozing, sexing, profit-seeking existence) which makes for controversial plot lines. Two discs into season two, I cannot imagine a world without Don Draper. *Good mail days
*10-10-10 (I know I already mentioned this in another post, but I love when the dates do things like this)
*Empty laundry baskets (which means I’ve actually finished my laundry!)
*Someone to talk to about anything and everything
*Glee cookies as shown to me by Hillary on *Some of my first years (I LOVE being team mentor and getting to know these new people in the program – they are incredible)
*We are reading “The Help” for a new book club that I’m in. I’ve already read it so I decided to listen to it this time. I love listening to the southern voices dripping like butter on a hot muffin while I drive the Alpine Loop or take the long way home just so I can hear a few extra minutes. (ps. They're making a movie of this due out next spring! And I get to go to brunch where Kathryn Stockett will be speaking in December at Sundance!!) *Finding a new indoor place to read at Sundance since it’s getting a little cold for the porch
*Having lunch with Ryan (we hung out twice in one week – a first in a long time for my brother and I)
*Giants baseball (it’s borderline obsession)
*Jenessa’s homecoming pictures (she looks so happy!) *Watching the end of the new “Emma” with Johnny Lee Miller playing Mr. Knightley six times in five days (Don’t judge me – it was a rough week and I needed ten minutes of positive existence to fall asleep to) *Walking the Provo River trail and passing the Raintree bridge (hello flashbacks)
*Making holiday plans *Maria saying “I feel like Bella here" about her facing the elements for a 10k mud run
*How happy Jewels and Mae are to have Brett home
*Actually connecting with people on the phone without playing phone tag (yes, miracles happen!)
*New Glee songs from iTunes
*The idea Julie Beck brought up of “breakfast w/ books” (a tradition she had with her family)
*Wedding pictures that were taken at Balbianello on Lake Como in a Martha Stewart magazine *Fall movie previews (so many good options!)
*The beginning chapters of “The Art of Possibilities” (such a good book so far!)
*Dinner with Corey, Patricia, and Caleb (such interesting conversation, such good people)
*Hitting my goal of 75 blog posts (that was a while ago, but I did do it)
*The team scene in “Miracle” where the individual players learn that they represent the United States (Dr. Thompson showed it to the first years in class, and I almost started crying during it – love that movie!)
*Making plans for my own apartment once I’ve graduated
*The chance to work with Dr. Thompson as one of his team mentors (more on him later – he is such a gifted teacher)
*Walking the canyon with Kirsten on Saturday mornings
*Being offered grapes during class and having them taste like childhood soccer games
*Sonic ice
*Jim and Pam
*Did I mention the Giants?
*This picture from an art blog. I’ve been looking at this picture all week as my computer desktop. I love it. *Finishing three papers in 24 hours (so many big things off the list)
*You (since you made it through this ridiculously long list)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Perfect Post Secret Moment

Today my roommate asked me if I made this contribution to Post Secret.
I did not send this in, but the fact that my roommate thought I sent this in made me so happy.

I'm also exceptionally happy because it is officially ORANGE OCTOBER.
Giants vs. Phillies starts on Saturday!

Throw in that Hill, Ellie, Ruby, and I had lunch today at Zupas, and it's just about a perfect day (even with the insanity!). Hope your day was just as good!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I really wanted to write a random blog post today - mostly because I love these dates with the same number that happen each year (and we only have two more!). I have the oddest assortment of ideas to write about jotted down on a stickie note on my desktop... For now though, saying that I want to write (and someday actually catch up on blog reading) will have to suffice. After all, I have a group ethics paper to piece together and edit, a cover letter to write, a computer to back up (too many sad things happening to people's computers!), teams to mentor, and...what was that other thing I had to do.....oh, SLEEP...dare to dream that it all gets done, right?!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Worthy Distraction

The tedium and stress of some classes is enough to push anyone to mild battiness. This week has been no exception. Naturally, mild battiness leads to things be much more amusing than they would be on any other given day. I'm not sure if this video of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon presenting the history of rap will amuse you as much as it amuses me, but I have to share it just the same. You all know, I love me some JT - throw in old school hip-hop, and I am a very happy woman. ps. Just to complete the image, I watched this with a couple friends in-between classes. We got all sorts of stares from how hard we were laughing...especially from the professor as he was trying to get set up for class. So worth it....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Principles of Uncertainty

The Principles of UncertaintyThe Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quirky. Random. Mildly disturbing, inspiring, beautiful, and everything in-between. Not a memoir, a how-to, or an art book - just merely an expression of life through quotes, drawings, and personal experience. A great coffee table book or conversation starter.
[Thanks Fin for giving it to me. I marked so many quotes to write down that I think I'll need a new journal to fit them all in.]

{ps. Don't you think this title is apropos to my entire being right now. Uncertainty is definitely the theme of my life....hope that isn't true for too much longer!}

Lovin' the Orange & Black

My boys made it to the playoffs today, and one of the reasons the month of October exists (for the World Series, of course!) actually applies to me for the first time since 2003. Could not be more excited the games to begin on Thursday. Go Giants!

Water for Elephants

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up a dozen times in Barnes & Noble. Each time, I put it back down because it was about a circus and about people who cared for and performed with animals. I do not like circuses – they’re disturbing and dirty. The animals are forced to live in squalor and inevitably there are always clowns. I hate clowns. I also do not love animals, and so a story that centers around things that, for the most part, I avoid is not a must-read.
But people kept talking about “Water for Elephants” – my aunt raved about it. My grandma raved even more about it. And then when I was in Los Angeles, a new friend of mine announced that she was nannying for Reese Witherspoon’s body double while Reese filmed “Water for Elephants”. My general inclination to read bestsellers before they become movies kicked in, and one random night in July, I finally bought my copy of this “must-read”.
I have to be honest. I did not love this book. I really do hate circuses, but that said, this story is so well told. Through Gruen’s deft pen, we step into a world of an old man reflecting on days gone by when he worked as a veterinarian for a circus. The reader gets lost in the sequins, the cotton candy, and the ever-elusive quest for money, for love, and for understanding. This story is a commentary on age and love just as much as it is a ticket to another era.
Sifting through the various characters’ journeys (Rosie, the elephant included) was like watching an old film – the type that is sepia colors and has scratches that run randomly through the scenes. There is no sound, just the images that dance and dazzle as they move across the screen. And almost without realizing it, I was carried away on that train that carried the Benzini Brothers’ ringmaster, Jacob’s beloved Marlena, Silver Star, and the rest of the crew to dusty towns across the United States….
“Water for Elephants” is not must-read to me. It earns the high rating for quality of writing, attention to detail, and for masterful narrative rather than pure enjoyability. I think though, that I am in the minority when I say that it is not exceptional. If you’re going to see the move, do yourself a favor and read the book. It is worth appreciating before the story slips loudly into a theatre near you.

Justice: What's the right thing to do?

Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ethical philosophy has attempted through the ages to define the parameters by which society should operate. Sandel, a charismatic and articulate Harvard professor, uses some of the most iconic philosophical viewpoints to examine the concept of justice. Through a utilitarian or virtue ethics lens, Sandel delves into current controversy, suggesting the pros and cons of the way each lens wields its judgment.

While the book occasionally drags, the ideas are well presented, well explained. The "so what" factor that Sandel uses to make his final argument for how society should define justice is brilliant. Personal time constraints do not allow for a full discussion, but I will leave you with the Bobby Kennedy quote that Sandel includes in the concluding pages-- It's life changing and absolutely deserves further discussion.
Our Gross National Product now is over 800 billion dollars a year. But that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts…the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud to be Americans. ~Robert Kennedy – March 1968

It's life changing and absolutely deserves further discussion. There's so much more that we can do to make this world more just, more inhabitable for our children and our families.

ps. I really do love that quote. Kennedy said over forth years ago, and yet it is exactly what is wrong with what we worry about as a country....Wish that great man had a chance to lead and inspire from the White House.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Unruly End and Welcome Beginning

By most estimations, this was not a great week, and I am glad we're at the end of it. I'm also glad that October is almost here. I love October. Fall colors, baseball playoffs (which the Giants will actually be in this year!!), General Conference, family visits, pumpkins, anticipation of the holidays, etc, etc. So great, so comforting.....and now I am so tired and need to sleep the end of September off....see you next month!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Letter to Justin's Family

September 4, 2010

Dear Tania, Wally, & Chelsea-

I have thought of you every day since Justin’s passing. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how quiet your house must seem, and yet I hope you feel how tangible his presence still is in everyone who knew him.

I met Justin on the first day of his junior year. I was his last class of the day. I had no desks courtesy of an office glitch, so my 35 juniors were scrunched together on folding chairs (not an ideal classroom management setting to say the least). Justin was in the second row next to Marten Dijkstra. Spencer Clancy, Sam Witters, Michael Jacob, and Greg Holmes were not too far away. Needless to say, chaos seemed to unfold at any given second. Justin was the catalyst nine times out of ten for the class getting amped up, and I fought him for control all during the first quarter. It took me longer than it should have to realize that Justin just wanted to be heard and wanted to honestly discuss the issues I was bringing up without dealing with the minutiae (e.g., the trivial interests of his classmates, class work he deemed unnecessary to learning) he had no patience for. Realizing that simple fact and coming to see Justin as one of the most interesting people I have ever met, changed that class and changed my life.

Justin impacted everyone he encountered and left them better than they were before. As my TA, during the second half of Justin’s junior year and first half of his senior year, he also left an indelible mark. He contributed to class discussions that he wasn’t even required to be paying attention to. He caught my sophomores off-guard every chance he got (Justin’s shock factor was also one of a kind). He got me into trouble over and over again with the librarian because he couldn’t let her seemingly arbitrary rules stand. Even up to the my last day at SRV, I couldn’t go in there without her eyeballing me like I too was going to threaten her silent order. It was worth it though. I wouldn’t trade one frustrating experience with Justin for anything because with every frustrating moment came a dozen a-ha moments.

Just a few days before Justin’s accident, I was talking with a good friend of his about how many possibilities lay before Justin; that in his own time, Justin would surprise all of us and change the world in a bigger way than any of us dream about. We couldn’t have foreseen any of the tragic events that followed, but in some way Justin has, in fact, changed the world because he changed us. Losing him forced me to evaluate why I do what I do and make sure that I am doing things for the right reasons.

I want you to know how much I appreciate your family. I know Justin wouldn’t have been who he was without you. He will be missed forever.

{This is one of those posts that is here for me - for that future blog book that will capture the big events of the past couple years. I still think about Justin every day. I can't fathom that a kid who was such a life force isn't living anymore. As the bracelets made to remember Justin say, "Janky D - Always With Us". Justin will truly always be a part of those who knew him.}

Monday, September 20, 2010

I wish you could have been with me today....

I wish you could have been with me today - surrounded by the type of beauty that is so perfect, you're almost sad because moments like this slip away all too quickly. I sat in a straight-backed wooden chair on the porch reading and taking in the general splendor. A cool breeze toyed with the leaves and sunlight peaked through the tree boughs. The sound of the river passing by helped make any other reality fade into the background. As I sat here, breathing deeply, taking in the aromatic scent of fire burning ovens, seasoned wood, and life. This is my perfect place, my safe haven, my respite from the chaos of everyday living. The hanging flowers, the sun illuminating the ridges of the tin roof and the soft green of the aspen leaves, the rustic furniture, and ever-changing colors, the feeling of smooth, worn wood beneath my finger tips, the final words of an inspiring book - they all seem like a love note to me. I'm afraid to move, as Anne once said, in fear that the spell of this place, the serenity I feel, will be broken. But down the mountain I must go. "Real" life awaits. I'll be back though. This truly is the only reality I seek.
Note written in the back of Jim Collins' "From Good to Great" during the late afternoon on Thursday, September 16, 2010 at Sundance
ps. The pictures were not taken on that perfect sunlit afternoon. They were taken on the earlier visit to Sundance where I curled up in that rocking chair and finished "Mockingjay" - perfect mood lighting for a book like that, don't you think?


Some of my friends write fantastically brilliant political blog posts (how many adjectives can I stick in one sentence?!). They write about major news events, politicians' latest whims, and issues that seem to affect every aspect of our day-to-day lives. I love these blog posts because I too am passionate about trying to make sense of the never-ending political conundrums that play out over the evening news. BUT I am also an evolving human being whose views are less than conventional in the circles I run in. I am more conservative than some, more liberal than others. And to be honest, I just don't want to engage in political debates in a medium where there is a time delay and a complete lack of human contact. I don't want you to question my personal views without seeing who I am and who I am becoming. If you want to talk, let's do it in person. Why bring this up? Because I never want people to think I don't care. Yes, I love trivial things like Harry Potter, Glee, and Matt Damon's impression of Matthew McConaughey. Yes, I'd rather talk about fall colors and my niece's latest antics than how much I detest the Tea Party movement. But I am studying each day to be more aware, to be a better caretaker of the world around me, and to be someone who can make a lasting contribution no matter what line of work I end up in. Though this may not be the forum, I am slowly figuring things out so that someday, when you and I sit down, I'll be able to explain why I am still a "Decline to State" voter and why there is nothing on God's green earth that will ever make me vote for Sarah Palin.

Okay, so maybe I'm not completely apolitical but who really is, right?!

Handling Monday with Matt

Sometimes Mondays are a little hard to handle. Here's a little something (a brilliant impression of the always shirtless Mr. McConaughey) courtesy of my friend Matt to help make the day a little bit better.
ps. The Esquire cover has nothing to do with anything. Just thought a little eye candy never hurt anything.