Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nacho Libre - Get The Corn Out Of My Face

I could NOT stop laughing about this last night!!! Just ask Sarah... I had to post this just to be sure that she watched it. I tried to show her last night but she said she was having more fun listening to me laugh about it. So here it is Sarah in all it's glory. For the rest of you, plese enjoy one of my favorite sceenes from the movie Nacho Libre... I especially enjoy when Jack Black tell the guy on his back to "Release" LOL
And while you are watching it you can imagine me sitting in the middle of my lectures day randomly giggling as I think about this little sceene.

Ps. Thanks be to Christina my other roommate who sang Enrique Iglesias's "Hero" to Sarah and I last night for a lullaby.

Monday, January 26, 2009

How Can I CoNcenTRate!?!?!?!

Hello fellow friends... it seems like it has been sometime since I last wrote. The past week went by in a flash. It was my first week back to school and I have to get back into the groove... I leave each class with about 2 hours of reading to do... um so lets see 11 class periods a week, and 2 hours of reading per class... that's about 22 hours of reading. I AM sure that you can guess that I don't have 22 spare hours just sitting around.

This is where my secret Superwoman powers come in handy. I just have to try and multitask... reading while eating, working out, on the bus... I suppose I could read IN the bathroom but I have some pretty deep rooted feelings about books being in the bathroom... plus a woman has to have some time to clear her mind!!!! (Right mom... LOL)

I can't complain too much though, I LOVE my classes so far this semester!!!! Here they are in a very particular order... I have arranged them by quirkiness of my professors and my enjoyment of their lectures.
  • Strategic Management (My professor lectures like he is in a Shakespearean play... the classroom is his stage and he is full of funny quotes and hand gestures, I will from this time forward be referring to him as Professor Shakespeare and will from time to time share WITH you his quotes)
  • Food Safety - LABUZA is my professors last name... just say it a few times (LA-BOOOZA!!) He gives away money if you answer questions in his class... I scored $20.00 last week which is AN incredible thing to me considering my current financial situation!!!! Plus he tells really funny stories and enjoys talking about Scotch... he is a BOOZA that silly Labuza.
  • Experimental Nutrition - I get to test my own urine and blood for nutrition content and feed a rat!!! How AMAZING is that! My prof has his wife in class as a teaching assistant, he told us that she is the laboratory mom. They are so cute, the kind of couple that look like each other... like a perfect match.
  • Sociocultural Nutrition - My teacher is a hippie, I had to put her a little bit lower on the list because she has made some comments that have been anti-Christian which rub me the wrong way... she talks about it like it is an evil entity that strips away peoples individuality and uniqueness... which is untrue, I will have to dive deeper into this in a later post.
  • Microbiology- ummmmm... BORING, just kidding... it is fascinating in it's own supremely nerdy way. The MAN who teaches the lecture is very nice, but he is pretty serious... perhaps his quirks will appear later. The lady who helps us in laboratory is a PhD named Pat and no joke she freakishly reminds me of the Pat that used to be on Saturday Night Live only her hair is blond.

Just to add to it all I am slightly distracted... I am sure if you read between the lines you have figured out why it's hard for me to concentrate these days.

Ps.. Sarah and Kristy the first song is for you... thanks for being so cute!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Congrats Jenny!!!!

This weekend my former roommate Jenny was married to Ted Simper! She looked so beautiful in a dress masterfully sown for her by her mother. This photo taken above was done by Katie Harris, who I must give credit to and encourage you to check out her website "Creole Wisdom" to see some of her other work.

It was so much fun to watch her fall in love and get to be a part of her life during such a joyous time. THANK YOU JENNY, I don't know if I will adequately be able to express to you how much I have loved knowing you, and look forward to always being friends.

She is moving to Alaska with her husband where he works as a pharmacist. I want to convince her to start a BLOG to share with all of us in Minnesota her wonderful tales of Alaska, Polar Bears, Ice bergs, Igloos and whatever else they should happen to encounter.

My favorite part of the reception was when Ted performed a song for her that he composed on the piano... he truly captured her personality and his love for her in music.

Way to got Ted... you are the MAN, please take good care of out dearest Jenny...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Death of a Vacuum Cleaner

I don't know if I can adequately describe to you the sorrow that filled my heart when my vacuum cleaner died earlier this week. How could I have fallen in love so deeply with this machine? We have just been through so much together I suppose. My little Dirt Devil was one of my first real grown up purchases when I moved out of my parents house. I was so excited to have a bag-less upright, so easy to empty. She was a light weight model carried up flights of stairs like a breeze... plus who can ignore her "microfresh" filtration system which trapped 99% of allergens.

I think I will miss most though the times we spent dancing across the living room floor, and all the times I accidentally vacuumed up long strings or pens and we would both squeal loudly and then laugh (well the vacuum didn't laugh... but it did squeal) as I shut her off and hoped that she would still work... and she always did, well until this week that is.

The burial has not taken place yet however, I am hopeful that I will be able to buy the part for the spiny-brush-thing that snapped off and we can be reunited again. Until that time my carpet lies spotted with the remnants of daily living, and I am waiting to hear the hum of a dear old friend as she gracefully sucks all of my troubles away.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

June 20th 2009

Go Confidently In the Direction of your Dreams...

If anyone is not busy on Saturday June 20th 2009 you should head up to Duluth Minnesota with me, because that is when I will be running in Grandma's Marathon!!! I am just about to register online, it just opened last night at 12:01 and they only except the first 9,500 people who register. Just THINK... running 26.2 miles with over 9,ooo people!!! This is going to be fabulous, but it also means that the training must begin NOW... only 155 days, 21 hours and 36 minutes to prepare myself for the START line!

I will probably be writing a lot about my preparation and training, and if any distance runners pop in here I am always up for tips. PLUS, I want to know of anyone who wants to run with me... you'd be amazed at what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

Marathon List of to Do's
  • Register for Marathon (cringe when I pay $85.00 to torture my own body... but smile knowing that I will get a T-shirt and delicious snacks when it's all done... and some great feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction (or perhaps I will be too unconscious as I pass out across the finish line to enjoy the above things fully)
  • Buy New Shoes to Train and Run in (mine are past their prime)... I think I am going to check out the selection at the Running Room I have heard good things
  • Buy New Race Outfit (a definite must to feeling like you can accomplish anything is wearing something you can feel great in and experience minimal chaffing in)
  • Start mapping out some runs that I want to do @
  • Develop a program (intense training will most likely not begin until March as I am in the midst of a Minnesota winter) But until that time I will keep that treadmill track rolling.
With that said, I realize that I am going to need to raise some funds for all of this. You can mail donations to 259.... just kidding. Time to get to work, I have a little part time transcribing gig right now so that should be able to get me by.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Utah and Back

There is something exciting about leaving everything behind
There is something deep and pulling leaving everything behind
Something about having everything you think you'll ever need
Sitting in the seat next to you
And I watch another white dash
Fly beside us

There is yelling of an engine, a constant rattling door
There is serious deep and mumbles
A conversation I'm not it
Flickering lights, Shadows of trees
Makes me blink me eyes
Makes the land appear like a really old movie

I got a heart full, of rubberbands That keep... getting....caught on...things
And I watch another white dash
Fly beside us

I was feeling kind of poetic this morning... although I did not pen the above words, it is from a song called "Another White Dash" by Butterfly Boucher. She opened up at a concert I went to once, and I always really liked that song. I felt like it was kind of fitting to my Road Trip out to Utah. It was kind of a last minute decision to take off... but it was the perfect way to spend five days.

I don't know what it is about hitting the open road that I love so much. I think we live in such a beautiful country and it is nice to get out and appreciate it every once in awhile. The mountains were spectacular as always, and I even gained a greater appreciation for the beauty of haystacks, lone dead trees in the middle of a field, the foothills, and cattle fences. The thing that makes a good road trip however by far has to be the company that you are in... and 40 hours in a car with someone is a great opportunity to get to know someone better ;)

When I arrived in Utah I was able to visit with three of my old missionary companions. It was so fun to see them... we reminisced, we laughed, we hugged... it was perfect. It always makes me so sad that they are so far away from me, they are truly some of the most incredible people I have ever met. My favorite part was when Sister Holly Hooper sang a couple of her Opera pieces for us.... There is not much that can make me happier then a private serenade, there is something special about having someone sing to you. I am one of her biggest fans... you have got to hear the the pipes on this woman... what a powerhouse!

I was also able to see Sister Malorie Nawyn and her husband (sorry Malorie... I forgot your new last name!!! You shall always be Sister Nawyn to me), and I also say Sister Jenny Shaw!

The main purpose of the trip was to assist Charles in packing up all of his belongings and bringing them back to Minnesota. So we spent a fair bit of time packing boxes and cramming them in the mini van so kindly borrowed to him by his mother. My favorite part was after filling the van to what seemed to be full capacity, he shoved a QUEEN SIZED mattress on top of it all. I was laughing so hard and I stood pushed up against the mattress... feet sliding backwards in the snow trying to cram it in. Amazingly enough it went in... not an inch of space to spare. We were a little worried that the springs would be so bent up that it would never regain it original shape, but it came out just fine.

On the way home we stopped at my Uncle Joe's and Aunt Denise's in Wyoming... they are a HOOT, and I spent most of the time laughing at their stories. I have not seen them since my senior year of high school, so it was really great to visit some family. They have a sweet house in the middle of nowhere... they have a big party room, 40 acres of land, and a steam shower (my favorite part by far). I am planning on going out to visit them again and stay awhile.

On the last leg of the trip home, Charles was really tired... he had driven most of them way home. So I let him sleep while I drove and jammed out to a few CD's. As you can remember from a previous post I am always intrigued with people who are sleeping, so I made sure to snap a few photos....
I had to laugh at myself in this moment... and I did giggle out loud a bit as I drove. Charles was on his way to Minnesota... which works out great for me because I love spending time with him... and what do you know, I LIVE IN MINNESOTA! The scene just seemed so humorous... here was this gorgeous man passed out next to me, and I was driving a van full of all his things down the freeway at a roaring 75 miles an hour... and I smiled as I said to myself... "GOT HIM!"

Friday, January 9, 2009

Can I please have your garbage?

So this is kind of old news... but never-the-less I really wanted to spotlight these sweet chairs that I picked up off the side of the road. Oh I remember it just like it was yesterday... I was just finishing an amazing run through the neighborhood when I chanced to pass by a family hauling "junk" out of their garage and local passersby digging through it. Wanting to discover what all the hype was about I also approached the yard. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the man who lived there with his family was one of my old bus buddies from route 25. He is actually also a member of my church and him, Melinda, and I used to have the best chats on the way to work about all sorts of things. Anyway, I noticed that he had these old beat up white chairs... he has three small children so you can imagine the condition of anything "white" in his home. Immediately my mind caught vision of these chairs with a beautiful crackle finish... and I loaded them up and headed to Home Depot. I told the man that I would take pictures of them for him when they were done so he could see them in their new form... we jokingly decided that this would be an "Open Adoption."

The above picture was in the middle of the process of refinishing them. They are really nice wood chairs when all the paint was stripped off. Which was the most tedious and difficult part... if you have never stripped paint before here is just a small explanation of the mess it creates. So first you get the stripper, which is like paint thinner on steroids.... it is pretty intense, you have to wear gloves or it might melt your fingers right off (ok so that is a slight exaggeration... but really be careful with it). I was using cheap-o plastic gloves and I think I had to change them 5 or 6 times because it would eat holes right through them. Also because of it's volatile nature I recommend NOT using paint stripper in a small enclosed area (like your dads garage with the door shut... I could have sworn I saw penguins dancing around after awhile). This potent chemical has the ability to pull paint off its surface , but instead of being able to peel it nicely away it turns it into this sludgy goop that sticks to everything. It was an interesting challenge to get the paint off all of the things it came in contact with (There was no hope for the jeans I wore during this project... they have been deemed paint pants).

However I must admit that my dad is a sucker for a project... and since I had set up shop in HIS garage (also known as my fathers piece of heaven on earth) he spent a lot of time assisting me in my efforts. It was pretty tender bonding time, we jammed out and laughed about stuff. After watching me struggle through the stripping of one chair he did the other two for me. One of the chairs is not pictured above... which will be explained momentarily.

I hope you are all not frightfully bored with this story of chairs... pictures have been included for those who don't enjoy reading.

After the paint was stripped off the chairs had to be sanded, primered, and lightly sanded again... now they were ready for the crackle finish. Now crackle painting was something I first witnessed on TLC's Trading Spaces and was always curious to see if I would be able to do such a thing. You have to purchase two different colors... one main color that will cover most of the surface and the color for the cracks. You also need to purchase the crackle finish. When I purchased all my goods at the Home Depot the helpful man informed me that this was a very tedious and tricky process... then he rang me up, took my money which he grasped onto tightly in his palms with a devious look on his face, as I slowly backed out the door he began to laugh in a diabolical cackle.... the lights all dimmed and a lightning bolt struck the bathroom fixture isle behind him... my slow creep out the door turned to a run as the magnitude of what I had gotten myself into sunk in. (Alright... so that didn't really happen, I just really want to keep you reading this!!!)

I don't know if you can completely capture the color from my pictures, but the chairs are a burgundy red, with cream cracks. First I painted the crack color, let it dry overnight... then you put the crackle finish on (Which is seriously like painting Elmer's Glue on something... it doesn't flow very nicely on your brush). That has to dry a little more than an hour and then immediately you have to paint on the main color. This is the tricky part because you can not go back over your brush strokes once you have painted an area or you will disrupt the cracks... there is definitely a skill to getting it on right the first time. However the cool part is that you can't really tell too much when you screw up.

I was soooooo excited when it was finally time to put the last coat on and to see the magic of the crackle take place. I nervously wet my brush and began... my dad was helping me out on the first one. As the cracks began to form, I exclaimed with absolute joy... "IT IS WORKING!!!" My father however was not thrilled at all... he likes things like paint to be much simpler (no fancy stuff). He remarked, "Well if you wanted them to look like crap it's working." I just laughed... I didn't even care that he was a "hater" of the chairs. When we finished one I ran to get my mother who is a very artistic women... I knew that she would have an appreciation for the look I was going for. I pulled her up the stairs to the garage and gave her a triumphant "TADA!!!!" She looked puzzled, and told me that she didn't like Crackle finish.

Well... good thing that they are MY chairs and I LOVE THEM!!!!! You can judge yourselves. They look great in my dinning room and my roommates butts seem to be very happy in comparison to some of the old chairs we had.

The third chair is not finished yet because my Dad had the idea that we could save ourselves a lot of time if we just sprayed the paint on instead of using a brush. I was apprehensive and for good reason... it doesn't work. So in the future if you should delight in the crackle painting of something avoid the temptation to cut corners. It takes some good old fashioned elbow grease, but definitely worth it in the end... if you enjoy taking something that looks old and beat up, and turning it into something that looks old and beat up, then crackle finish is for you.

The End. Oh Thanks for sticking the story out to the end!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 is SuRe to Be MigHtY FiNE

HaPpy NeW Year EvERy One!!!!! Hope your celebration was momentous... you can see I had quite an explosive night! I oddly enough had about 50 sparklers in my closet left over from the Fourth of July and could think of nothing more fitting than to light them off after midnight to ring in the New Year.

I enlisted the help of some extra hands for purposes of lighting and had grand plans of sticking them in the ground to spell something profound and deeply meaningful... however it was a bitter cold Minnesota night, and so I went from something profound to 2009... and then upon loosing all feeling in my fingers, to 2 - 9. However you can't really tell that is what it was anyways. We ended up just trying to light them as fast as humanly possible for warmth and to get back inside.

Prior to the sparkler extravaganza I did manage to cut a rug at a big dance put on at church. It was a blast... there is always something very liberating about shaking your booty, I recommend that people try to do so at least once a week (Whether in public or private).

Ok... so as promised here are some of my big plans for 2009, and New Years Resolutions in their respective categories...
Spiritually: Last year I decided that each year I am going to make one Christ-Like attribute my focus, there are many good ones to choose from. Last year I choose knowledge and sought to understand it's importance and gain more of it. I still have a lot to learn but it was nice to focus on it for the year. After careful and prayerful deliberation I would like to mark 2009 as the year of Charity (or the pure love of Christ). I am just going to focus on loving people this year... with the understanding that an important aspect of charity is that you expect absolutely nothing in return. Charity is completely self-less... which can be very hard for all of us to do. I do not in anyway think that by the end of the year I will have achieved perfect love... this is just something for me to think about through the year.

Physically: I have been inspired by my friend David who conquered the Twin Cities Marathon in 2008... and so I want to run a marathon this year (most likely Grandma's in Duluth Minnesota)!!! Which is crazy because the first thing I said after I finished the half marathon this past summer was that only wacko's run marathons and that I had no desire to do it. So I changed my mind... you know how much I love to torture myself (well lets call it push my own limits).

Mentally: After one semester of school at the University of Minnesota studying nutrition I have found that a lot of things I am interested in involving alternative diets and herbal remedies are not discussed much in the curriculum. So this year in addition to my school work I plan to read as many books as I can get my hands on to broaden my horizons.

Environmentally: This year I am going to try to avoid the temptation of throwing random school papers and junk I collect throughout the week on top of my dresser. There is usually a mountain of random things on it, and I wait until it is spilling onto the floor before I find homes for things or throw them away. So I have a clean dresser top goal this year.

I also have plans of taking some trips... I have so longed to take a vacation to somewhere warm. I promised myself that the next time I went somewhere I would not be Utah (No offense... I just feel like I always end up there). However spontaneously I have leaving at 3:00 a.m. to drive out to Salt Lake with Charles, Julia and Cody... it should be fun and I have big plans to see some old missionary companions! Only one day into the New Year and already things are going just fabulous....

Life is great!
Thank You 2008
but now it's time
to welcome 2009!!!!!!!!