Monday, February 28, 2011

i heart my sisters

I adore my sisters. Just had to put that out there in the universe. Who else would be such a bada-- that she would have a paint fight with friends AND get a black eye doing it? And who else would look so gorgeous on a windy boat ride in Hawaii? That's right - my sisters.
[ps. Photos were definitely used without permission...especially Jenessa's, but how could I resist?! I may even have to make that my desktop background - it is too cool for words.]

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Talking With God

Talking With GodTalking With God by Robert Millet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Confession: I do not finish nine out of ten books that are written on the topic of religion and spirituality. It's not that the topics don't appeal to me, but that the books are dry or unengaging. More often than not, this type of book is too lengthy, and I am left musing not on the things of God, but rather on who the writer's editor is.

Amazingly enough, I completed Millet's "Talking With God" and I completed it in a timely manner (those two things are often mutually exclusive). Millet's premise is very simple - he believes that these divine conversations we are privileged to have can transform our daily lives. He does not preach or talk down to his reader, but instead talks as he would to a friend or neighbor about his personal insights and experiences. Though Millet is an LDS author, the book is not written exclusively for members of the Church. He cites theologians from many Christian denominations and references multiple translations of the Bible, which only strengthens the points that he makes throughout his writing.

I cannot say that I loved "Talking With God" because the style of religious texts, as previously mentioned, does not usually appeal to me (unless written by Jeffrey R. Holland). However, there is something to be said for the fact that I finished this book and that I have a dozen post-its sticking out of it for ideas and concepts I want to revisit in future personal study.

The one post-it that I keep going back to has to do with our preparation for prayer - so often, we rattle off our daily prayers or our meal prayers just because we're supposed to. We say the same rote phrases that our parents taught us to say without thinking twice about the meaning behind them. Millet asks what type of preparation we would put into meeting someone important - the President of the United States, the Prophet, or anyone else that you have dreamed of meeting. He asserts that we would never rush into a meeting like that. We would stop and think ahead of time about things to discuss, key questions that we want answered, etc. I was taken aback by this concept because immediately when Millet had posed the idea of meeting someone so important, my mind went a million different directions. Who would I want to meet? What would I want to talk to them about? I think I imagined half a dozen people (oddly enough, alive and dead) before I realized my eyes were still moving over words I wasn't taking in. I realized in reading that section and in thinking back over it that I do not prepare adequately for my conversations with The Important Person. I can do better. For that insight alone, this book was worth my time reading it.

So read it or not, the choice is yours. Either way, I hope you're enjoying what it is in currently on your nightstand. And if there is nothing there right now, we need to talk. You know my number....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Five Quick Things

Brevity is the order of the day so four quick things-

1) I know my Seattle posts were dramatic. There were a couple rough days where I was working to reframe my expectations about what it’s going to be like to move to a new place where I know no one. Plans can change (quite quickly and unexpectedly – hello, MPA program?!), but if I can find a job, Seattle is still the plan. The Emerald City (and Redmond where I plan to live) will be a great place to live and work.

2) I am loving the sunshine. Yesterday we almost hit 60 degrees. I know those of you outside Utah don’t understand how warm that is for us, but even today’s 50 degrees feels glorious. It gives me hope that spring will actually come.

3) I saw Jewels and Mae three times this past week. That alone makes the week a tremendous success.

4) I got to catch up with so many great people this week - in person, on the phone, via letters. Some of you really are hilarious - thanks for sharing!

5) I had a dream that I was dating Luke Danes from Gilmore Girls last night. Perfectly delightful thing to wake up thinking about...have to be honest though, I was almost late to my 7:30am meeting because I wanted to keep dreaming.

Alright, back to work. Things in accounting class and Clipperland are dramatic, time-consuming, and really get unruly if left alone for too long. Love you bunches!

The 101 Most Influential People That Never Lived

The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction, Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society, Changed Our Behavior, and Set the Course of HistoryThe 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction, Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society, Changed Our Behavior, and Set the Course of History by Allan Lazar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let’s be honest – I am so glad to be done with this book. I love the randomness and the obscure facts. I do not love how enamored the authors are with themselves and their damn dog. I think this is a good book to peruse when you’re waiting for someone or when you’re looking for something to talk about at a dinner party. This is not a book that I would recommend reading from cover to cover.

A few things that I found thoroughly entertaining from my read:

*Still cracking up from the Prince Charming section. The Velazquez idea that Prince Charming can’t recognize the love of his life so how is he going to be a good father is especially funny.

*Robinson Crusoe inspired the idea of “my man Friday” which, of course, led to “my girl Friday.”

*When the book was written, there had never been a president or vice-president or secretary of state Joe. I actually agree with the authors on this one – GI Joe sounds great. Vice President Joe – not so much. Do you think that’s why the Obama administration hardly lets him out to play?

*Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde was on the forefront of psychology. And who said writers make things up? We’re brilliant, well at least, Robert Louis Stevenson was. Not sure about the writers that are perpetuating vampire series books in every era possible.

*Any reference to the Mary Tyler Moore show makes me happy. I love that she is a symbol of women’s liberation. I never thought of that when I was watching her as a little girl on Nick at Nite (yes, that’s how they spelled night).

*Buffy? REALLY?

*The Barbie information is so interesting. Ironically, they reference Barbie and Ken separating in 2004. I passed a display in Target a couple days ago that “Barbie & Ken – Back Together!” I guess the famously beautiful plastic dolls have reconciled just in time for Valentine’s Day.

[For more see, Happy reading!]

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Creative Help

Here's the project: a book full of letters and memories for a set of parents who lost their son. The letters / memories are all typed. There are only minimal pictures. How should I put it together? What binding? What materials? I have lots of ideas, but nothing seems quite right. Despite the fact it's a "memorial" book (if that's even a thing), it doesn't have to be muted colors or anything like that because the son was a "larger than life" type personality. Thoughts? Suggestions? Anything would be great!!

ps. If I can figure out how it's done, this is one of my next projects. These were done by Isaac Salazar in Artesia, NM.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February Book

Our online book club is reading Gary D. Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars for our February book. We'd love to have you read with us. It's an adolescent fiction book that describes in this way:

While all his classmates are enjoying (?) religious instruction, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood shares Wednesday afternoons with Mrs. Baker, his Camillo Junior High teacher. Not surprisingly, Holling lacks enthusiasm for mid-week appointments with an instructor who assigns him Shakespeare as out-of-class reading. Holling has other things on his mind besides English Renaissance drama. For his dad's sake, he's trying hard to stay out of trouble, but with hovering bullies and other impinging crises, that seems to be a full-time job. Fortunately, help arrives from an unexpected source. Another funny yet gripping novel from the author of Lizzie Bright and The Buckminster Boy.

I think it will be a great book (not to mention, a more relaxed read for a short month). Happy Reading!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What would I do without....

In a week that has been frenetic to say the least, what would I do without…

Karleen: I am so lucky to have this girl as my roommate, teammate, and friend. My week did not start off very well, and she took such good care of me. She made me dinner on Monday, brought me breakfast in bed on Tuesday, and kept me company when I didn’t want to work anymore (this happens pretty much everyday). So glad we were matched up last year on Team Fridge. (The picture is of our friend Teresa and Karleen by the infamous Lakeshore llama on our recent trip to Tahoe.)

Toe Warmers: Why did I wait until January to buy some of these? They are amazing for a girl whose feet are always cold. Six hours of warmed bliss. You seriously should try them.

Voice Lessons: A few months ago I started taking voice lessons. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and so on Tuesday afternoons you’ll find me belting my little heart out with Jenny Jenson. My time practicing and my lesson each Tuesday are truly the highlight of my week.

Colin Firth: Have I said lately how much I love his acting? I loved the “The King’s Speech” (please don’t judge if you hear about this movie every couple of blog posts – I really, really loved it.). It’s everything I want in a movie with a superb story, great art direction, quality score, and of course, exceptional actors. Since I first saw the movie a month ago, I have been working my way through Firth’s movies again. So good!

Movie Award Shows: On a similar note, I love that this is awards season. I know most people don’t care, but I make it a point to watch all the awards shows and then read about them in L.A. Times “The Envelope” section. The Oscars are on February 27th just in case you wanted to know. Also, I couldn't live without Jewels who kindly sits and watches the awards shows with me while Mae entertains us during the boring speeches.

Real Letters & Emails: I got letters and emails exactly when I needed to get them this week – real ones, with thoughtful messages and shared ideas. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era for how excited I get about going to my mailbox.

Curly Girl Design: My latest decorating obsession has to do with Curly Girl Design. I just love her artwork and her sayings. I stood in a boutique yesterday for almost an hour just pouring over her cards, her matchbooks, and her canvases. There is one that I want for my kitchen, but I haven’t decided if I can justify the price. If I keep thinking about it as much as I have since I first saw it in December, I may just have to do it. ps. Don’t be surprised if the next card you get from me is one of hers. They are too wonderful for words.(This pictures was my first introduction to Leigh's work - Tracy gave me a notebook with this image on the cover.)

You: Yes, you. Thanks for being my friend and for caring enough to read my silly thoughts. Happy Friday! Hope you have a wonderful day!!
True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership (J-B Warren Bennis Series)True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book, of course, is another foray into leadership strategy. I have to admit that I went into the book with a bad attitude because I am not a huge fan of the professor who assigned it. That said, it actually was a pretty good book. The author's rhetoric is a bit cliche, but the book won me over with all the personal stories of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things. My personal favorite was Andrea Jung, the first female CEO of Avon - her passion for empowering women from all walks of life transformed a company. She's a great example of someone finding great success doing something she believes in.

George's main premise that leaders are most successful when they are true to themselves is not earth-shattering, but is line of thinking is well presented. His recipe for successful leadership is actually a good recipe for successful reading.

All in all, I am glad to have read it and would recommend it to people who are into this genre of book.

[I know, I know - not the most passionate or interesting of reviews, but you're catching me on a Friday after a long school week. A girl can only do so much.]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Road is Always Calling

I have not been the most consistent blogger as of late. Unless I was reviewing a book, I really did not get around to sharing what’s been going on. Part of that is the shear chaos that is grad school. Another part is that the gravitas and weight of my thoughts hasn’t felt like “share with the world” kind of material.

That said, some day when I make my blog book of 2010 and 2011, I will want to include the whirlwind of mini-trips that have made up the last six weeks of my life. {Are you ready for this? It's a bit of a marathon post.}

December 17 – 21: Disneyland with the family. It was our wettest experience in the Magic Kingdom and one of our most memorable due to the ponchos, Mae, the lack of concern over vanity (how can you be worried with water is actually streaming down your neck because it’s raining so hard?), Jenessa and I having our own room, how many times we rode certain rides (Small World in particular), and so much more.

December 22 – 25: Christmas with the Hutchins. The majority of the Hutchins descended upon my grandparents’ house for what felt like our last “all together” Christmas for a while (minus Eric who was off wooing his future bride (they’re getting married in September!) and Jewels who was with Brett’s family in Texas). It was a great holiday despite how gray it was and how early my family had to leave to beat a snowstorm. I love any excuse to be with these great people and to play games all day every day.
December 26 – 30: Home to California. Five days of catching up with friends, pajama movie days, shopping in the city, working on a t-shirt quilt, and just Bay Area bliss. I love being home. There is nothing like it.

December 31 – January 5: First week of classes. Welcome to the last semester of grad school. Let’s be honest – I barely paid attention since I was getting ready to leave again on Thursday.

January 6 – 9: Clipperland. I am interning long-distance with Clippers this semester so I spent Friday in meetings with the Clippers HR people (love them). The rest of the weekend was spent catching up with my friend Maria. We shopped, watched a couple Oscar buzz movies (more on this later), ate great food, walked along the water, and just enjoyed being in the same place at the same time. I love that girl so much and wish we could plan our lives so that we ended up in the same place once we graduate. January 10 – 12: Week two of classes. Yeah, I was definitely having a hard time paying attention. Didn’t help that I realized this week how much I dislike my classes.

January 13 – 17: Tahoe with MPAers. After Thursday classes, we hopped in the car and made the trek to Incline Village. We spend a wonderful weekend playing in the snow, lounging on the beach (seriously – 46 degrees in JANUARY), making snow caves (that would be the boys), playing cards, and just enjoying being away from school.
January 18 – 26: Third and fourth week of classes. Miracle of miracles, I was in Provo for a weekend. The highlight of this chunk of time was seeing Jewels and Mae for the first time in a month. These weeks solidified my loathing of at least one of my classes and reiterated how much I love going to the movies when it’s too cold to do anything else.

January 27 - 30: Seattle. Katie Fin and I met up in Seattle for a much needed catch-up session and so that I could get a better feel for an area that I am considering moving to. It was great to see Kate and to walk Seattle streets with her enjoying delicious Pike Place muffins and frequenting Watson Kennedy every day of our visit (seriously – we went every day that we were in town. It’s everything I want in a boutique except for its prices). (Kate and I didn't take one picture because it rained so much when we were together. Next trip Kate - we have to take double to make up for it!)

January 31 - ?: Provo. I’m not sure how long I’m in town for this time, but I think it will be a while. I need to get classes and work sorted out and on track. I need to find that motivation that seems to flee either during the last semester of grad school or when your classes feel like GE’s – double whammy when those two experiences coincide.

It’s been a great, albeit a bit insane, six weeks. I can’t wait until I get to head out somewhere else – somehow the road is always calling….