Sunday, January 31, 2010

Instead of....

Instead of doing my stats homework, I had a movie night with my fabulous "Thursday" friends. We watched- {It was fantastic. We laughed. We almost cried. We fell in love actually.}

Instead of working on my h.r. case study, I went out to lunch and movie with Jess on Saturday. We saw- {Who would have thought that the dollar theater would show an international movie? We didn't know "Coco Before Chanel" was going to be in French, but it was very interesting. Definitely not what I expected.}

Instead of reading for budgeting, I talked to Alyson and she showed me- {Really cute story - more for the mom reading the story than the child listening.}

Instead of studying for nonprofit finance, I started reading- {Still only about a third of the way through, but beautiful story so far.}

Instead of discussing public policy, my "Thursday" friends and I had round two of "show & tell" - I showed off a couple things, one of them being- {Should be required reading for everyone who feels like they never finish their "to do" lists!}

Instead of going to bed on time, I indulged in- {Quirky, powerful, and incredible cute. Hugh Dancy did a fantastic job in this unconventional love story.}

Instead of running errands, I sang along with- {Okay, I wasn't really singing, but Ellie was while Hill and I caught up. Great night, great food, great company.}

Somewhere in the middle of all the "instead of's" I did do some homework. Truth be told, it was a more balanced week. I cooked. I went to the gym. I did school work. I did a few things I actually wanted to do. Crazy - I know! Fingers crossed for this week to be the same--

Thursday, January 28, 2010

News Peeps

J.D. Salinger died today at 91. I don't love "Catcher in the Rye" - but that book has affected so many people. Crazy to think that such a brilliant man lived such a reclusive life.

Randy Winn was just signed by the Yankees. I hate that almost as much as I hate the Yankees.

Brian Sabean, in theory, manages the Giants. After this many years of insanity, can we get rid of him already?

Justine Henin and Serena Williams are playing in the Australian Open final. I hope Henin destroys Serina. I know, I know -tell you how I really feel.

President Obama spoke last night. I'm not telling you what I think because I still want my conservative friends and my liberal friends to like me still. Yes, I'm one of those dreaded indecisive independents.

Rick Reilly wrote a new column on misbehaving athletes. Very funny, very "tongue in cheek." [I've never used that phrase before, but it applies here.] Reilly made fun of the Wizards' non-infamous Arenas. Arenas is a moron by the way.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams talked about their new film at Sundance. I love them.

[I think I have extra 'tude this afternoon. I better stop writing until I get out of school and find my happy self.]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We need to talk...

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We all like to think of ourselves as good communicators. After all, life is once endless succession of communication – be it oral, physical, written, etc. “Crucial Conversations” is a book about communicating when stakes are high – when we’re really invested in the topic at hand, when the outcome really matters, and when emotions are high.

I am good listener, but I am not a good communicator. Often when things matter most, I shut down. I stop speaking or I start avoiding. Despite it’s initial appeal, that approach is damaging. Reading this book made me realize that my communication weaknesses do not have to be mine forever. In recognizing weakness, we are able to start to change. I started trying to be more open and honest more than a year ago, but it was not until I read this book and listened to my Organizational Behavior class lectures that I realized how critical it is that we be good communicators.

This is not a perfect book. The anecdotes are a bit much, but life can be a bit much. People’s reactions can be ridiculous sometimes, and the authors have worked hard to provide different applications for these crucial conversations (whether it’s with children, coworkers, partners, etc.) I cannot say I am completely changed communicator, but I am working on it, and that’s what the authors emphasize. Learning these steps and these concepts is a process. I will reread this book, and like other habits, I will change one piece at a time, one conversation at a time.

[ps. I know I already told you about Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" (which is still SO GOOD), but I am also loving "Falling Slowly" and "If You Want Me" from the "Once" soundtrack. I love that these two actor/singer/songwriters are actually in love in real life. I am also loving Jennifer Hudson's "Let It Be" and Justin Timberlake's "Hallelujah" from the "Hope for Haiti Now" cd. SO GOOD.] Happy listening and happy reading!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Predictably Irrational

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I like to think of myself as being a rational human being, but after reading this book, I think that maybe I'm not. I started this book because the first four chapters were supplemental reading for my economics class. I finished it though because the premise was fascinating. Much like Freakonomics, Predictably Irrational seeks to answer questions about society at large and why we do people do what they do. Predictably Irrational is more practical - Ariely asks questions of why we make the decisions we do and why we spend money the way we do in less traditional methods. Ariely writes about why we overvalue our possessions, why we go nuts over FREE!, etc. I don't agree with everything Ariely says, but he doesn't present it as fact - he's just trying to get the readers to consider things more objectively. This book is entertaining and will make you reconsider why you love Pepsi versus Coke and the power of placebo medicines. This book makes for great conversation starters and for "school" reading, it was fantastic.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Little Things to Love

The past couple weeks have been great. Lots of little things have made the usual dreariness of January non-existent. Here are a few of my little loves…

*Living in my own snow globe (I know people hate it when I say this, but I love fresh snow. Watching the snow fall down on a quiet Provo this past Friday was a great way to welcome the weekend.)
[Not a great picture, but it was a perfectly beautiful night.]

*Strawberry Chex and blueberries (always a good morning with this recently discovered combination)

*Mae’s gibberish (Mae’s singing and dancing are all the entertainment I need on any given day, but a highlight from Jewels, Mae, and my recent girls’ night was Mae trying to say my name.)

*Perfect paper chain (Don’t judge me. I know I’m not seven, but I love my paper chain. It’s made out of some of my favorite “wild asparagus” paper in shades of purple and green. I get so much satisfaction seeing the chain get shorter…. I’m counting down to summer, Tracy coming, family coming, mini-trips, etc, etc.)

*Irving Penn’s Trades People Collection (Penn created a brilliant photography collection of men and women dressed for work. He shot the photos in black and white in 1951. I got to go through his exhibit at the Getty a couple weeks ago with Maria. The few pictures shown don’t do the collection justice, so I’ll happily tell you all about it if you’re interested.)

*Smart A** (No I’m not trying to be profane. It’s the name of my grandma’s new game. It’s a more user-friendly “Trivial Pursuit” game that Ryan, Jewels, my grandparents, and I played this past Saturday. Very fun. I love my family. I’m glad my grandma is feeling better. For the record, my grandma said versions of the game name every chance she could.)

*Facebook status updates from 2009 (Most applications that make their way through the facebook chain are lame, but I loved seeing this random sampling of 2009 status updates. I say the weirdest things. Glad you’re still my friend.)
[I'm still looking for the magic beans, wand, or pixie dust...]

*And the award goes to… (Hello awards season! I love these shows – granted you have to be doing something while you watch (holding Mae, organizing something, etc.) because they get long, but I love the dresses, the movie clips, etc, etc. I, especially, love that Glee and Sandra Bullock have won at both the Golden Globes and the SAG awards. Sandy’s speech at the SAG awards was classic – if you haven’t seen her in “Blindside” – Go!)
[Like I said, her acceptance speech was fantastic - humble and hilarious - I love how she talked about her husband!]

*Silver fetish (I painted my nails dark silvery gray. I love this trend of dark metallic polish.)

*Layered Jell-O and Lady Antebellum (Jewels takes such good care of me. Today she cooked a fabulous dinner complete with her layered Jell-O and gave me a Lady Antebellum cd. So, so good!)
[If you can only download one, download "Need You Know" or sample it on Pandora.]

*Boy updates (My roommates and I are hardly home at the same time, but I love how we randomly congregate in the hall to hear who is loving who.) [My roommates and I just figured out we had no pictures together - we'll be remedying that soon.]

*Show & Tell (No joke – Kate, Heather, Karleen, Nicole, and I had “show & tell” before our movie night this past Thursday. It was Nicole’s idea of us to all bring something – favorite candy, plastic spoons, children’s books, chickens (seriously – real chickens), and first aid pictures are just the beginning. It took us ages to get to the movie because we were having so much fun talking about our objects. By the way, we watched “The Painted Veil” – I really love that movie.)
[Kate, an MBA student and stellar singer, brought this book and read it the girls and I. It's brilliant.]

*Growing book stack (There are five books on my nightstand. Yes, I’m reading all of them. I love that my desire to read hasn’t gone away even though the semester is getting busier.)

*Sleeping in (Last semester I went to school early every day regardless of what time I started class. When my roommate asked me why I didn’t it, I realized my reasons were not nearly as good as sleeping in that extra hour feels on my late days. I’m less stressed and ironically, more organized for it. Good thing she asked.)

Like I said – little things, but good things. Even in the midst of not loving what I’m studying, I’m enjoying life. Hope things keep going this well!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting Out of the Bitter Barn

One of my favorite Friends episodes includes Phoebe saying to Chandler, "Get out of the bitter barn and play in the hay." When I was home for a couple days last week as part of "Career Week" (more on that later), I was definitely hanging out in the bitter barn....

I had scheduled an eye appointment knowing that my prescription had gotten worse. I had been squinting at the board - which, of course, brought back bad memories of eighth grade and sophomore year where I was in denial that I had glasses and/or couldn't wear contacts. I left my house in Alamo to drive to my appointment in Concord worried and anxious - what if my eyes were a lot worse? what if my astigmatism had reached a point where contacts wouldn't work anymore? I was getting off 680 at the a few minutes into my drive when Third Eye Blind's "Semi-charmed Life" came on the radio. Talk about a flashback. Fast forward through my drive and a dozen lights on Ygnacio - I had just started climbing the hills that drop you into Concord when The Cardigans came on singing "Love Fool." Suddenly, it was 1997. Lorraine, Jen, Cassey, and I were laughing over brownie mix listening to the "Romeo & Juliet" soundtrack that had come out the year before. "Love Fool" was track seven in case you've forgotten. And then there I was at the eye doctor - not bitter, not worried - feeling a lot more like my younger self.

The eye appointment was fine. My eyes were worse. Dr. Dougherty called it "GSS" or Graduate Student Syndrome (too much studying, too much strain on the eyes). I had to get new glasses and new contacts, but in my more relaxed perspective, I found myself grateful I don't live in the 1800s. There is great technology that enables me to see. Like I said more hay playing, less bitterness. After sneaking in a visit to Lauren at the Clayton PD, I made my way down Clayton Road feeling more than a bit nostalgic being so close to where I grew up. Collective Soul and Matchbox Twenty came on to make it even more nostalgic. Most people would complain that their eye doctor was 25 minutes away, but that Thursday, I was grateful for the drive.

Later that night Vertical Horizon came on the radio as I sat talking with Rachel in her car outside Yogurt Shack. Perfect song for a musically perfect day...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Love Like That

I was reading the NieNie Dialogues yesterday and was struck again by how amazing Christian and Stephanie Nielson are. I love how in love they are with each other. Their love is up there with the great love stories of the ages. They've faced insurmountable odds and come out more in love with each other than they were. When I'm feeling like there isn't enough love in the world, these are the type of people I look to to restore my faith that people are good, that things do work out. Someday I want to find love like that.

Stephanie and Christian before their accident a couple years ago - cliche as it sounds, but you can see how in love they are by how they look at each other in their pictures.

Christian and Stephanie this past fall on a hike - still very much in love, still supporting each other every step of the way.

[If you haven't started reading the NieNie Dialogues, now is the time. Go back and read Stephanie's anniversary posts each December. Love, love, love!]

Hitting Home

I've started following the news again. Sounds trivial and self-absorbed, but sometimes I just can't do it. I can't know what's happening because I feel so helpless to combat what's happening. There are a few things that have stuck with me lately...

*I was sitting in class yesterday when I read the news that there had been a huge aftershock earthquake in Haiti. I'm overwhelmed by the damage there, the lives that have been lost, not knowing how many are dead/where people are/who is dead, the inefficiency in relief efforts (which doesn't really seem to be anyone's fault), the poverty, etc, etc. Hard to imagine that much chaos amidst such tragedy.

*I was first introduced to Invisible Children when I was teaching at San Ramon. One of my students was actively involved in recruiting people to the cause and his fervor caught my attention. It was only then that I learned about the Joseph Kony's child soldiers. The devastation that one man has caused is deplorable and scary. I was able to research the Kony's army (the LRA) this past fall as part of a project and able to speak out on why we need to get involved. We can ignore it. Right now, Chase Bank is having a contest where you can vote for your favorite charity, and the winner will get a million dollars. Vote and tell other people to vote. Invisible Children is doing work that is critical. They have become the voice for children that cannot speak for themselves.

*This one is much more simplistic, but John Edwards and his breakout news that he fathered a child with his mistress while his wife was battling cancer while he was running for president while....makes me ill. I liked him - not necessarily all his politics, but I liked him. He had potential. Obviously not so much....

*Goldman Sachs is reporting record profits and bonuses that average more than $400,000 per employee. Good thing we used tax payer dollars to bail them and other banks out. (Vanity Fair had a great expose on them, by the way - love the honest reporting about something that is usually so clouded in secrecy.)

Enough of this commentary for now. In the wake of all the sad things, bad things, and everything in between, I am reminded how blessed we truly are and much more involved I need to be.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Open: An Autobiography Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I cried watching Andre Agassi's final speech from Arthur Ashe Stadium in the fall of 2006. Here was a man who had one of the most incredible tennis careers in the history of the game - a man who had fallen in love with tennis royalty (the leggy wonder Steffi Graf) and had two beautiful children - a man who had used his fame and wealth to build a school that might inspire hope in the hopeless - and the thing that had given him all those opportunities was ending. It was awe-inspiring and to me, an incredible culminating moment. And yet Agassi grew up hating tennis. In a lonely game where Love can mean nothing, Agassi felt completely lost.

"Open" is a brilliant narrative of Agassi's road to self-discovery all set, of course, through an endless series of matches against many of tennis' greatest players. Agassi is unflinchingly honest. His self-destructive behavior throughout much of his life and career is shocking, but surprisingly understandable. The images he paints of the games played in jean shorts with long hair (a weave or a wig most of the time) or his then-wife Brooke Shields putting his now-wife Steffi Graf on the fridge for weight-loss inspiration are classic. That said, this is not a book for everyone. You need love to tennis or at least have an interest in the game. You need to be prepared for the rollercoaster that is Agassi's life, because it's not pretty much of the time. It's frustrating, agonizing, and amazing. Agassi does show though that the pain and the loveless days have all been worth it. That's a message we could all stand to hear a bit more - tennis lovers or not.

Happy Reading~

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Semester Cleaning

I love spring cleaning - that idea of taking everything out of cupboards, rooms, etc. and starting over. Semester cleaning is not quite as much "fun" because it just involves switching textbooks from one shelf to the other and putting docx, ppt, and xslx files in titled folders. I've decided though that I need to once again clear my desktop of old stickie notes. Currently stickies of all colors and various sizes cover the snowy backdrop. Everything from internship ideas to lists of who has borrowed which books and words I need to look up to grocery lists is there. My favorite stickies though are quotes - some of which are days old and some of which are months old. I've found these quotes in articles, books, movies, talks, etc. It's time to start with a clean slate for everything though so before I officially clear these away, here are some words that have inspired me.

"Let you alone! That's all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"
--Guy Montag in Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451"

"You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway."
--Junot Diaz

"I have noted within the Church a difference in discernment, insight, conviction, and spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormon and those who do not. That book is a great sifter."
--Ezra Taft Benson in Dec. 1988 Ensign

--Rachel Hansen in her R.S. Lesson

"Plan to be surprised."
--Dan Burns in "Dan in Real Life"

"The future is as bright as your faith."
--Thomas S. Monson in April 2009 General Conference

"People's lives are always happening right in front of you."
--Felicity Porter in "Felicity"

"Lost time is never found...."
--Haley's Essay in May 2009

"You don't understand what you're capable of."
--Mark Forsyth as quoted by Eric Forsyth after Mark passed away this fall

Your genetic energy level enables your lack of discipline," Rochelle continued. "Instead of leading a disciplined life, you lead a busy life.
She then gave me what I came to call the 20-10 assignment. It goes like this: Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?
--Jim Collins in "Best New Year's Resolution"

I know some of these quotes seem random, but I love them. Happy reading and happy living!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Best Friends Forever

Welcome to MPA Career Week 2010. Unsure of what that is? Yeah, we are too. Essentially, it's a week to interview and/or look for internships instead of attending classes. Sounds like a great idea, but we weren't given much notice so scheduling career related activities hasn't really happened. This means that next week when my classmates ask about my week, I won't be telling them about HR job descriptions (though I promise I'm applying for every internship I am at least semi-qualified for). I will be telling them about Best Friend Week 2010.

Monday - Maria (It's official - Maria and I have known each other FIVE years already. I never would have thought that a randomly assigned roommate could be such an integral part of my life. She is evidence that God places people in our lives to help us along our way.)
[Maria & I in windy San Francisco last fall when she and Jake came up for a 49ers game.]

Tuesday - Hillary (Simply said - when I write the story of my life, Hillary will be in every chapter. Love her forever.)
[Hill, Ellie, and I on the day I received my endowment. ps. *Hill - we have got to take more pictures! I don't have nearly enough to choose from for all the times we hang out.]

Wednesday - Tracy (Every girl needs a Tracy - that friend who knows exactly what to do and say in every moment from the trivial (which accessories to wear with which outfit) to the essential (how to calm a stressed out, slightly spastic friend with three sets of essays and two sets of book reports and only 48 hours to grade them in). She's my "left" hand since of course, you know I need my left hand much more than I need my right.)

Thursday - Rachel (Rachel is one of my oldest friends - a girl who is in the details of my life. She answered my notes about how cute my 7th grade crush looked standing in the quad. She let me cry on her shoulder about my B in Della Rosa's AP history (I was way too stressed out in high school). She watched "Devil Wears Prada" with me and commiserated about first job blues and boy drama. And she was the beautiful bride I got to stand next to in September. She's that friend that I know I'll be talking to on the phone when I'm 75.)
[Tracy and Rachel by the infamous llama on Lake Shore Drive in Tahoe during our fabulous girls trip last fall.]

Friday - Katie Fin (Cliche as it sounds, Katie is a kindred spirit. She and I grew up in some sort of parallel universe just 30 minutes away from each other. We loved the same things, read the same books, and dreamed of the same adventures. It seems fated that we would teach at the same school. She is my sanity and my sounding board. I'm so grateful for her.)
[Me, Zach, and Katie Fin at Katie and Jay's wedding last June.]

Seeing these fabulous friends wasn't planned way in advance, but it's worked out wonderfully and I am so excited. They are five of my very favorite people. Throw in that I will get to see all my brothers, my sisters, and my niece this week too, and things are just about perfect.

ps. Just to make you smile, here is the biggest smile I have ever seen on Mae's face. This was taken on Christmas morning as she saw her new piano. She could not have been happier.

pps. I resisted the urge to BFF as the title of this blog. I was totally one of those girls that signed my notes with all sorts of BFF doodles. Just ask Rachel....

Thursday, January 7, 2010


People in my program love to use the word "caveat" which my mac dictionary defines as "a warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations." I'll never use that word again just because I've heard it to much. But it fits here - not in a dramatic warning type of way, but in a stipulation or condition type of way. So here are a couple caveats to previous posts-

"Dear 2010" - I just have to say that 2009 wasn't completely terrible. There were many things that went right. I went on great trips with friends and family. I finished my third and most fulfilling year of teaching. I saw Mae take some of her first steps. I laughed until I cried with more than a few of you. So yes, I am more pessimistic than I was before, but I also have great memories...

"Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This" - Despite all those random, "special" experiences, that day wasn't all bad. I had lunch with Ryan, Jewels, and Mae - how great is it that we're all in the same place for the first time in years?! I studied with Nicole and Karleen. I know studying doesn't sound like fun, but with these two girls everything about this program is better.

Why add these two caveats? Just didn't want you to think things were/are "all bad" - that's not in my nature to think that. Enough of this-- Non-profit Finance and Budgeting, here I come.

[For reading this odd post, here is a treat from "Today, I put pictures of Edward Cullen staring creepily in all the bathroom stalls in my school with the caption "Edward Cullen is watching you pee." Just as I was taping up the last one, I heard a girl shriek from the next stall over. Finally, satisfaction. MLIA." Edward Cullen has never watched me pee, but one time at Girls Camp a frog watched me shower. Since I didn't have contacts in, I didn't notice the frog until part way through. I screamed like a little girl and barely made it out of there with my towel. The girls waiting to shower looked both panicked and completely amused. Great memory. Great things on MLIA today. Great you!]

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What would you do if your government had total control of your every move? And what if your life, your family and friends' lives, your countrymen's lives all rested on your reaction to that corrupt government? "Catching Fire" captures that dangerous balance between obedience in the wake of ultimate corruption and defiance when the cause is just. Throw in love triangles, burning dresses, and powerful birdsongs, and you have just the beginning of Katniss' new story. "Catching Fire" is almost indescribable because it evokes so many ideas and varied reactions in a single reading. It's tragically dark and foreboding. It's inspiring and unexpected. I had to force myself to slow down - to take in all the details. This is a series that needs to be read in order. The third book does not come out until August - way too long to wait, but wow-- this book is disturbingly great and though it's geared towards adolescents, it sticks with you. In tonight's must-see TV line-up or newspaper article, there are traces of Collins' ideas of what we can become and why we must do everything in our power to resist. Read this book, like I said about the first one - you won't be disappointed!

[I finished this book over the weekend, but had to wait to review it. Too much to process it. For those of you who have read it - I loved this book and all the twists. I'm not sure how I felt about the final twist -those last ten or so pages, but we'll see where it all goes in August!]

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This

Yesterday was special - not special like "prom night" special, but "eat the paste" special.

Special Moment No. 1 - I was trying to leave school after a less-than-perfect day. My car "clicker" wouldn't work. The red light was blinking when I pushed unlock, but the locks were not doing their usual magical pop-up. So I inserted the key in the lock. Nothing (this should have been clue one). I start yanking at the door handle while insanely pushing the "clicker." I frantically continued pushing lock, unlock, and (thank goodness) resisted the urge to push the panic button. Finally I noticed that when the lock sound had gone off, it had sounded distant. I looked into the car. Looked the same to me. I slowly sidled to the back of the car to see the license plate. Yeah - not mine. Good thing I hadn't called AAA. My car was two spaces over.

Special Moment No. 2 - When checking out at Taco Bell (I had a serious need for their Diet Pepsi - yes, it is superior to other soda fountains), I gave the girl the wrong change. Don't worry, I had counted it twice before I handed it to her. And yes, I am beginning my financial semester of the program. Good thing I'm so good with numbers.

Special Moment No. 3 - I had a 30 minute window between school and going to a friend's house to study. In those 30 minutes I managed to lose my keys. I tore my room apart looking for them. For the record, they were sitting on the kitchen table where I would left them so I could find them easily.

I stopped counting my special moments after that because it was only Tuesday and the school week wasn't even half over. Call yesterday what you want - excessively blonde, delirious, whatever. I'm just glad to have lived to tell the tale. Good thing there weren't any open manhole covers....

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dear 2010

I used to say that I was idealist - someone who believed that I could change the world, etc, etc. Then I got a little older, taught kids who came from really screwed up homes and became an "idealistic realistic." Then I lost my job and became a realist. Throw in a move back to Utah and the first semester of grad school and I've become a cynic masquerading as a realist. I hate it. It was a much more hopeful existence being somewhere in the idealist/realistic idealist category.

I want to believe people are good and that there are happy endings. I want to believe again that it's worth going through this lovely thing that we call life. 2009 destroyed pieces of those illusions so I figure you can help me believe all those things again. Not sure how, but please do it for me.

Not to be stubborn or entitled, but I refuse to do another 2009. If you are anything like it, I'm abandoning anything normal and moving to Europe. Not that I don't want to move to Europe anyway, but I'll do it in a rather rash fashion if things don't pick up.

Okay that's it. Hope you're feeling optimistic about this being your year and all.

Thanks, Jaclyn

[This is my 100th post on 1/1/10. I realize those aren't exactly alike, but I like it just the same. Happy New Year(I hope!)!!]