Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rowan's Birthday

A highlight of my winter break was going to Idaho for the weekend to attend my niece Rowan's 1st birthday. Below are some great pictures from the weekend, she's such a cutie. 

Me and the birthday girl. She got the snazzy vest for her birthday.

Rowan styling Gma Campbell's huge sunglasses. 

The birthday girl taking advantage of her birthday wishes, using one to play in the kitchen sink.
Amazing applespice birthday cake made by Chenoa (Rowan's mom).

Rowan wearing my hat and scarf, with Chenoa and Chester in the background.

One Upping is Hereditary

Before last weekend I thought that one upping was just something en vogue because of SNL's Penelope skit, but I realized it may be hereditary. Last Friday night I was kicking it at G & G Campbell's house (Gma Campbell is pictured below but don't tell her I took this picture or she would disown me- she hates pictures). As usual I was trying to secure my position as favorite grandchild and win grandma's affection. My current strategy was offering her an orange that I had brought her all the way from Utah. What do you think grandma did when I showed it to her but say something about it's small size and runs to get an orange twice the size of the one I was offering. That was a clear one-upper.

I am quite sure that my grandma has never seen SNL. As such I think that one one upping habits are not merely the miming of a popular TV show but a hereditary trait passed down from my grandma to my mom to me.

Doesn't grandma look happy. My favorite part is the bright orange shoelace she has used as a head band.

Oranges: mine is pictured on the left, grandma's on the right. In case you couldn't tell which was bigger.

P.S. The day this life changing story happened I was on a computer fast so I couldn't type the entry. Instead, like a true writer I wrote it on a napkin. My evidence in pictured above.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

All good things come to an end

A little over a year ago I started bragging about how long it has been since I was sick. I mean actually sick. We all know that I have chronic health problems, from which I suffer silently, such as chronic congestion disorder, degenerative hip disease and periodic insanity, but today I am sick with a virus. While I am think it's some sort of rhinovirus I can't be sure because Web MD does not do very good job at diagnosing the cold/flu. 

The point to this rant-other than the much anticipated comments along the lines of "get well soon"- is that is has been more than 2 1/2 years since I have been sick like this.  A pretty significant feat when you consider that in that time I was substitute teacher in Cheyenne, and I lived in a bastion of disease last year with one of my room mates being sick pretty much all of the time. The last time I had a cold/flu was right after I got the Cambodia in May 2006 for an internship. Sadly, my long reign of health is over and the bragging rights that came along with it. 

I am just glad that my disease weakened fingers found enough strength to type this blog entry and wish everyone good health and a Merry Christmas.

A picture of me in healthier times.  Although doing things like kissing the glass of an aquarium in a sketchy Chinese restaurant probably only heightens my chances of becoming ill. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lazy Thanks

I have this habit of checking my blog every time I am online to see if it has been updated. Like I wouldn't have been the one that did it. I sometimes wish there were blog fairies who would throw me a metaphorical bone every now and then by hacking into my blog and writing something super stellar; at least post the equation to cold fusion, world peace or something.

Alas, that has not happened and as I see many a friend writing Thanksgiving posts I feel a little guilty. I myself, was a beneficiary of two delicious dinners of which all I had to provide was potatoes for one and a poinsettia for the other. (We didn't eat the poinsettia, which is good because I hear that plant is poisonous to animal and can therefore can only conclude that it would be poisonous to humans as well).

Anywho I had a great Thanksgiving filled with football, fun, food and friends. I am particularly mindful of how blessed I am as I switched back a forth between CNN covering the terrorist attacks in Mumbai to an episode of Sesame Street with Tina Fey playing a pirate. Don't really know why Tina Fey as a pirate elicits gratitude but I think it was the juxtaposition with the CNN news coverage? Thanks to all I spent my holiday with, and to all I wish I could have also spent it with. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Birds

 I saw this picture on one of the New York Times Picture of the week, which reminded my of alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and could not pass up the opportunity to relate my own Bird-like experience. For those of you who have not seen the movie, a small coastal town is plagued by avian attacks. They start out small but soon the birds are massing huge flocks and terrorizing, even killing people. 

Last Sunday evening at dusk as I walked to the School of Public Policy for a group meeting I noticed the silhouette of what had to be hundreds of black birds in the trees lining the road. Then, for no reason but to instill terror in my heart they simultaneously took flight and circled above me. I contemplated what to do. Do I run and let the birds know of my fear or can their beady eyes already sense it? I decided to play it cool. The school was only a block away and I was confident I could make it. After the initial terror that a classic horror film was about to be reanacted with me at the tributary sacrificial cast member vain side kicked in. 

I wondered what my odds were of being pooped on with hundreds of birds circling my head. I thought how my group would react if I showed up to our meeting with bird dropping splattered on my clothes and hair. Then I wondered if bird droppings may have any beneficial conditioning properties to hair. After rejecting that thought I am sure some other equally dramatic, absurd though entered my head and I forgot the whole situation until just now when I happened upon this picture. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cadaver Calculator: How much are you worth?

$6175.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

My sister had this calculator on her blog that she got from her friend and I loved it so much I decided to post it. See how much your body would be worth. This could be really useful information for you or your family if the economy gets any worse.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Alive and Well

About a week ago I was reading my friend Emily's blog about an ROUS (rodent of unusual size) she saw. Although it cannot be independently confirmed most people she described it too said it was probably an opossum. She also thought what she saw bore a striking resemblance to Dick Cheney.

I am from Utah where the largest rodents I have seen are mice. Although I did see a muskrat or a beaver once in Idaho, I can't be sure which one. Since moving to Michigan I have wanted to see an  opossum (the only marsupial native to North America) alive and kicking. I see their lifeless carcasses on the road quite often but never alive, until last night. 

I left a friends movie party early, sorry Brian, to get some homework done. I  was driving on a secluded road near my house when what should wander across the road right in front of my car, an opossum! I slowed and took a good look at it. I now know why I see so many dead ones along the road because possums are not very quick on the ground. 

The opossum did have tiny beady red eyes which was a little frightening and yes perhaps even looked a little like Dick Cheney. I am just glad that I slowed down enough to have seen one alive and well. For all I know it could have been carrying its offspring in its pouch at that very moment and my alert, careful driving saved a whole opossum family. Not something I can say for a certain squirrel that met my car last year and now gathers nuts and berries in heaven instead of Ann Arbor Michigan. 

I would be interested to know who calls them possum v. opossum?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I am ready to take this step. I am ready to declare Barack Obama the winner of the 2008 Presidential Election. I believe I have beat every network in my projection. Take that CNN. Eat my trash.

I want to update this post not only because I needed to change the picture but also because I had a great, nostalgic run this morning. I ran up Pontiac Trail and noticed the many Obama-Biden lawn signs and remembered how great I felt last night after the election was called for Obama- I should say after I called the election because I beat all the big networks.

But seriously, even greater than Barack Obama being president is the hope that I have felt in reference to politics and the political process. I have felt hope in my spiritual and interpersonal life but is has been a long time that I felt hope in reference to politics and direction that America is going. So whether Obama lives up to expectations or not-though I think he will- I am grateful to him for the very thing he campaigned, Hope and Change. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I usually forget it's Halloween until the day of the actual event when I see people dressed up oddly and then wonder why all these crazies are dressed up. This year however I could not escape it. My friend Amy wrote about how she doesn't much like Halloween and I mostly agree. I like the fall season and fall-like things that are associated with Halloween like scarecrows, corn stalk bundles, squashes carefully used as decorations and carving pumpkins. I DO NOT LIKE being scared nor watching scary movies so that whole aspect of Halloween is lost on me. 

This dislike was reinforce as I volunteered at a community center's haunted house and had small, crying children cling to my leg because they were too scared to go through the rest of the haunted house. However this experience also reminded me that I love seeing little kids dressed up. I think Halloween is very anti-climatic when there are no children around. 

As for dressing up myself its a toss up. I have had some really good costumes and some really bad costumes. I have given up on girly costumes like disco queen, princess or even cute woodland creatures (like a bunny), and for good reason. these costumes usually require some sort of make-up and whenever I put on any eye make-up more than simple mascara I look too much like a lady of the night. So instead of looking like a disco queen I look like a retro lady of the night or my princess costume means I look like a medieval or high class lady of the night. This entry is not meant to offend anyone, be they other costume wearers or actual ladies of the night. 

In order to remedy this problem I decided to cross dress as my friend Jonathan Fuentes. This idea really made Halloween fun. You have to understand that Jonathan is one of the most well-kempt males I know, perhaps bordering on metro (sorry Jonathan). He loves to wear sweater vests, a habit you might think he picked up from Harvard where he went to undergrad but he claims he wore them even in High School (probably the president of the chess club too). He also usually wears Khaki or Chino-like pants and has distinctive glasses. Recreating this look was cheap, but priceless. I easily found everything I needed at the Salvation Army and Target. I think the vest was sent straight from Heaven and may have even been donated by Jonathan mom after he out-grew it. 

Here are some pictures from my various halloween activities:

Jonathan Fuentes Squared-No folks he is not wearing a costume that is how he dresses everyday.

For FHE we carved random produce. I got the coconut and think I did a fine job considering the materials. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spaghetti Squash

Two weeks ago our Relief Society went to a cider mill. For those of you who aren't familiar with cider mills, it is a place where they make apple cider and then sell apple cider with various products that are closely related or foster nostalgia like donuts and other produce items. To my 'delight one of these produce items was spaghetti squash. I have not eaten spaghetti squash since I was proabably nine or ten. I don't like squash in general but I loved spaghetti squash. My mom would make it and we would eat it with delicious marinara sauce and cheese to top it off.

Because of all these happy memories I decided to buy one and give it a go myself. I don't think mine got cooked long enough but it still turned out all delicious. Here are some pictures of the process and outcome:
The finished product with a pumkin I bought in the background

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One more from Colbert

Colbert has done it again. Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chili Champion

Before I start my blog I would just like to wish everyone a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving. 

Last Friday I attended the Hillstreet Ward Hoedown sponsored by the elders quorum. It was a night of rural frivolity and country dance but the highlight was the chili cook-off. I initially made my chili out of the kindness of my heart as I took the term "chili cook-off" to actually mean "Please bring chili so the people will have something to eat." In accordance with this understanding I rustled through the cupboards looking for Chili-like ingredients. This is what I came up with:

Chili Cook-Off Winning Recipe
1/2 lb ground turkey browned with Red Onion
1-can kidney beans
1-can pinto beans
2-cans of stewed tomatoes with peppers 
1 pack Kroger Chili Seasoning
1/4 pkg of Ranch dressing mix

I felt a little guilty winning considering that much of the taste came from the Kroger Chili seasoning but there were no rules that disqualified one from using store bought seasonings. The real reason I won is probably because my friend Amy's chili was gone by the time the judge tasted the chili and there may have been some color discrimination as Amy brought White Chili- whatever that is- and I think the judge was looking for a more traditional chili recipes. 

My prize was the hat I am wearing in these picture. Notice how I got the country western cowboy hat while the runner's up had to settle for the outback, down under hats. All Hail the Chili Cook-off Winner!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see... But still, I love technology... Always and forever."

I would like to introduce all of you to my new love, BIG RED. After contemplating the purchasing a vacuum for awhile, last week I decided I was ready to make the commitment. I felt committed to vacuuming for at least the life of the vacuum and who knows how long that might be. But then I went to Costco where I fell in love with BIG RED. That's when I knew that I wouldn't have any trouble finding the motivation to vacuum. After a week my feelings and affections remain unchanged. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I approve this message

I was talking to my supervisor at work today about the presidential commercial's phrase "I approve this message" after we watched a McCain SNL clip. We were wondering where this phrase came from so I, like an good reference librarian, turned to Wikipedia. It states:

"I approve this message" (sometimes in the past tense, with "authorize" in place of "approve," or with "ad" instead of "message") is a phrase said by candidates for federal office in political advertisements on television and radio in order to comply with the so-called "Stand By Your Ad" provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), enacted in 2002, that requires "a statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication".

I hope you enjoy the accompanying video that hilariously demonstrates uses phrase.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Politics and Religion

I rarely use my blog as a political platform other than the occasional Colbert post, but this post was inspired by something I saw on CNN this morning, as well as something I heard in church yesterday. I'll start with CNN. There was segment on some Christian leaders explicitly telling their congregations to vote for John McCain or in one case not to vote for "Barak Hussein Obama". These openly political actions calls into question these institutions tax exempt status but that is not what I want to focus on, but instead share what I heard yesterday at my church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka The Mormons)

Political participation, Voting and the Political Neutrality of the Church

As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future.

Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good and honest. Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties.

Therefore, in this election year, we urge you to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government. 

The Church affirms its neutrality regarding political parties, platforms, and candidates. The church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues. 

After hearing that I wonder if there is candidate running that is wise, good and honest; I don't know but I'm narrowing my choices. What I am sure of is that I am glad for an organization that encourages its members to be educated and make informed choices in all aspects of their lives, be they political or spiritual. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Learning and Re-learning

Dear faithful blog readers this blog is brought to you by Epid 554. While I enjoy this class it does not require a lot of brain power. We are watching a very powerful video right now that I will post another time. This entry though will be dedicated to my reminiscing about new hobbies and old hobbies, that are a bit rusty. 

New hobbies:

Banjo- A few weeks I was walking to the school of social work when I came upon a young lad playing his banjo-I should mention that I have been looking for a new banjo teacher since mine graduated last year. Initially, I walked on by but then I realized that it is not everyday that I come across a banjo player, so I went back and asked him if he would teach me to play the banjo. It turns out that he is a new freshman and would be more than happy to be my banjo teacher. Last Friday I had my first lesson. It went really well and I learned that chords for CCR's Bad Moon Rising and Bob Dylans's Mr Tambourine man. I can play the chords and the strumming patterns but the songs are a still a little hard to distinguish. James was lucky enough to get a free concert via Skype. 

Swimming: I am putting this in the new hobby category because although I can get from one side of the pool to the other my doggy paddle is hardly
 majestic. Fortunately my friend Lisa (pictured, but not to be confused with the sexy Michael Phelps pic) was a swimmer throughout undergrad and has volunteered to teach me how to swim. I have been twice and I still can't 
breathe but I have killer backstroke, mainly because it doesn't require putting my face in the water. 

Hobbies Take-2: 

Ceramics- Last winter my tall blond twin moved to Ann Arbor. You may be wondering how a short brunette with really great hair can have tall blond twin (she does have great hair too). Stephanie and I found out that we both went to Snow college, took the same intro to social work class- although we didn't know each other- both went on missions and then ended up at the University of Michigan's School of Social Work. One other commonality we share is we both took Intro to Ceramics at Snow. This week I am going with her to rediscover my lost ceramic love and talent. Although there are no surviving remnants of my first go at ceramics and I got a B in that class- worst grad of my undergrad!-please be assured that I was GOOD! If things go well all of my friends can expect post modern ceramic pieces for Christmas and Birthday presents. Yeah!

Violin-I would also like to take up the violin again. Right now my violin sits underneath my bed but I hope it will see the light sometime soon. I am a bit hesitant though because two of my room mates are master students in the school of music. Hence I will have to find practice times when they are not home so as no to offend their musical sensibilities. 

I encourage anyone who has a lost talent/hobby or would like to develop a new one to go for it. Here is a hobby suggestions for Kirsten: picking up Scottish Laddies or picking up Scottish Laddies for younger, soon to be even more talented, younger sister. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Because I am feeling a it overwhelmed by the start of the semester I thought I would just rely on my old trusty friend Stephen Colbert to entertain blog viewers. This is a really great skit that perhaps only pales in comparison to the Palin/Clinton Saturday night live skit last Saturday. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Idaho top 5

A few weeks ago I was in Eastern Idaho. An although not the setting of East of Eden or really any famous books that I can think of right now it is a peace a heaven to me. It has gained this status in my eyes for a number of reasons some I will not divulge on my blog but five such reason I feel comfortable sharing are below. Eastern Idaho is a piece of heaven to me because it is:

1-A land where babies and dogs can sleep in peace and harmony. It is also where G and G Campbell live, though perhaps not with as much peace and harmony as babies and dogs as they told each other that they dislike the other's haircut.

G and G Campbell

2-Within a stones throw of great hiking camping and eateries like Grumpy Goats hot dog. A hot dog place with real goats tromping around in the back yard and yes the people there really are grumpy.
My brother Matt in front of Grumpy goats.

3-A place where the highway might as well be a movie theater for the hours of entertainment and conversation it supplies. Although the new favorite topic of conversation is my brothers new house going up next door to G and G.

The fam scoping out newly poured concrete

4-It's beautiful! Not too many people can wake up and go jogging in a place like this.

5-The land of square ice cream cones. I didn't remember to take a pic of the actual ice cream cone but please notice the shirts we made seeking to recreate to older picture that debuted on an the Allen Christmas card of 1987.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hiking Solo

Today with my friend Amren and I hiked Maple Mountain and now feel like an eighty year old women as I sit nursing my achy knees. However I would really like to discuss the concept of hiking solo. As a female I don't often contemplate going on long hikes by myself but as we passed or were passed by numerous solo male hikers I thought of what it would take for me to go solo. Here is the list that Amren and I came up with:
  • Satellite phone
  • Bear Spray (for bears and creepy people)
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • GPS
  • Compass (in case the GPS stops working)
  • First aid kit the size of a small child
  • German Shepherd from the local Humane Society
  • Walking stick
  • Change of clothes
  • Sling
  • Flare Gun
  • Gallon of water
  • Food for 2 days
Considering this list it's not surprising to see why I have never gone hiking solo. The list may seem a bit over the top but I need to feel protected from people that not only wear shirts like this but leave them along the trail.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Road Trip Nostalgia

My favorite word lately has been Nostalgia. I do lots of things for nostalgic reasons and have realized that if they didn't create fun stories or blog posts then I wouldn't do them at all. My recent trek in a car with my sister and brother from Washington DC to Utah is a perfect example. I will however focus on the parts of the trip I will tell to posterity for nostalgic reasons, and not the parts where my life flashed before my eyes in the back seat of a Mazda 3 as we drove around corners and plastic bins full of toiletries almost crushed me to death.

My sister Kirsten took us to Great Falls Park, the Virginia side.

Great Falls Park, Virginia.

The Fam sitting in the middle of a lock that was used to transport good around the falls on the Potomac. We weren't actually supposed to be in the lock but the Forrest Ranger agreed to take our picture anyways.

Breakfast at Eastern Market. I ate here a couple of years ago, got the chocolate chip pancakes and had to really search for the chocolate chips. This time they were much more generous.

Poltergeist stairs at Georgetown. I have never seen the movie but my friend Emily told me a priest throws himself down these stais to become depossessed (that may not be a word). Anyways we didn't hang out there too long, I can only repress the urge to reenact for so long.

This picture needs no description needed but we went so late most of the animals were not out so that is why there is a picture of me instead of a cuddly creature.

Somewhere in Indiana. I am pretty sure this particular corn is being used to make both ethanol and high fructose corn syrup.

Carthage Jail. The jail where Joseph Smith was killed.

This can't be confirmed but we believe Joseph Smith drank from this very drinking fountain before entering the prison.

Kirsten and James in front of the Nauvoo temple.

While in Nauvoo we were able to attend what may be one of the best theatrical/musical performances ever, entitled
Riverboats and Mormon Girl Meets Non-Mormon Boy Who Eventually Joins the Church and They Live Happily Ever After Dreams or something like that. I have never seen the wittle and whistle gang so honestly portrayed on stage.

Anyways we made it home safe and sound and I have done enough moving and driving to last a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things don't change much

I remember watching this video a few years ago and it is as true now as it was then. I was reminded of Rob Corrdry as I was speaking with some friends about Saturday Night Live the other night. I was also reminded how much more funny he is than most of the people on SNL. Another really funny non-PC one is entitles Racist Like Me. My social work friends would be so ashamed. I love Rob Corrdry when he's clean and hope viewers enjoy this little trip to the past.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Zoobie Games

Amy, my room mate, and I have been talking about doing some sort of group outing to pick berries for a long time. This last week we finally made it happen. We went to Rowe farms and picked raspberries. Then we went home, made raspberry shakes and played games. It was a lot of fun but the games were just like being back at the old BYU. The first game we played is called the flour game. The picture below are pretty self explanatory but you cut away at the flour until the penny on top falls. Whoever causes it to fall has to retrieve it with his or her mouth as shown. I fortunately never had to retrieve the penny. After that game we played spirited game of mafia as well as the animal game and the question game. Since I am always at a lost for games to play with a group let me know your favorite group games.