Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorite Movies of 2009

This has been a great year for movies. I had a schedule that permitted me to go see matinees. But there are a few movies I missed like Whip It! and Zombieland that I will see on dvd.

These are the movies I enjoyed the most. I don't care if YOU enjoyed them. (Well, I care--but I'm not about to prove anything as a critic--I'm just telling you these are the movies that made me happy.)

10. Invictus-- in all of my classes at least one student every quarter does a report on Nelson Mandela. I thought this movie was a wonderful introduction to a legend. The movie could have been unfocused and massive considering the breadth of the subject--but Mr. Eastwood kept the story on track and introduced the other elements with grace that will allow other storytellers to tell the other aspects of Mr. Mandela's life.

9. State of Play--I'm partial to a good movie about newspapers. I love Russell Crowe and my little sister was Rachel McAdams' stand in so I got to visit with her while they were filming in DC. I really loved this movie about the end of an era. I can always do without Ben Affleck, but he didn't complete ruin it for me.

8. Pirate Radio-- This movie made my heart sing from the beginning to the last. It's very existence makes the world a happier place to be.

7. The Proposal-- Don't judge me. I liked it! Ryan Reynolds is sexy and Sandra Bullock is hilarious. There were some stupid parts of the movie, but throughout the summer if friends wanted to go to a movie, the majority of the crowd would say, "I haven't seen The Proposal!" And normally, I try to steer people to another movie if I've already seen it--but I managed to see this movie at least 3 times--and it just got funnier every time.

6. 500 Days of Summer--It was refreshing to see a chick flick from a guy's perspective. Guys have such confidence about their love stories. It's such a lovely contrast from the "I hope he likes me!" to the "Of course she loves me! Doesn't she?" Refreshing and delightful. And about half my guy friends felt very close to Joseph Gordon-Levitt after this movie. The girls loved Zooey Deschanel, while secretly loathing her.

5. Inglourious Basterds--Oh. My. My heart. My heart!! It was incredible. In anticipation for the violence I expected from Mr. Tarantino, I spent the movie just cowering--waiting for the axe to fall. The performances, the story, everything was deliciously flawless.

4. Precious--The story isn't happy, but the reflections of life and the performances were so filled with integrity and true humanity that I can't help but applaud this beautiful movie. What a beautiful reminder that life--all life--is worthy of our respect. And everyone's story--when told with humility and truth--has an indefinable magic. The movie was a perfect reflection of raw humanity.

3. The Fantastic Mr. Fox--I laughed so hard!! That's all. It was just funny. and that's enough!

2. Up--It made me happy! Weren't you happier for this movie? Talking dogs? That's HIlarious!

1. The Hurt Locker--No words. Just watch it. From callousness to pure heart. This movie swings your emotions from fire to ice. I couldn't laugh or cry. I could barely breathe. It was an incredible reflection of the war in Iraq--and of the war that rages in all of us. How do you know who to save--who to trust? What is winning anyway? Soooo gooood.

and because I don't want to rewrite this list to start at higher numbers--I have to say that

1a. Up in the Air--You've all read the review. Go see it. I feel a closeness to George Clooney's character. I loved that they finally wrote a movie that reflects the transitory feel of life in these United States right now. Everything really is up in the air right now. And where is home exactly?

and 7a. Sherlock Holmes--I love Robert Downey Jr. And I love Jude Law. Nuff Said.

and 8a. Julie and Julia--I could do without Julie. But I love me some Julia!

As for best performances: Mo'Nique, Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, Christoph Waltz in The Inglorious Basterds, Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Pirate Radio, and Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock for piling in charming, subtle, and touching performances throughout the year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Family

Here we are. We're missing Matty and of course Jack.
Jayson, Kim, Konner, Kelli, Nick and me. It was a great time growing up with these wonderful people. It's so good to see everyone--even if it is only once a year.

This is my mom's brother Tom and his lovely wife Susan. My Uncle Tom is a pilot and Susan is a beautiful singer.

Dad and Nick. I can't believe Nick is taller than dad. Crazy!

Here's my cousin Sharon and her new boyfriend Jeff. We all really like Jeff. He got along with everyone really well at dinner. And he eats a lot! This pleased my grandma who made two pecan pies, layered jello, a giant prime rib, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, green beans, brocolli and cauliflower, red velvet cake with cream cheese and coconut icing, so. much. good. food!!!!


Kimmy and Konner

Here's Kelli and Kim chillin' in the living room.

Kelli is the eldest of our clan. She is the head of the kitchen at the hospital in Logan. She has been there for at least 10 years. She's wonderful at her job. She helps Kim raise our cutie pie nephew.

Here's Kimmy. She's a year younger than me. She's a great mom. She works hard at Wal-mart. She has been there for almost 9 years now. She's a wicked awesome pool player too.


This is my baby brother. He is 17 and 6 ft 3. He just got into U of U! Such a smartie!

This is my cousin Sharon and Nick.

This is my brother Jayson. He owns his own company and just recently built a HUGE house in Lehi. He's just a teensy bit awesome. Such a good guy! And only 27!

Here's Uncle Jayson with Konnor Jay.

Grandpa and Grandma Mom and Dad

My parents loved having everyone over for Christmas this year. It was so nice. We had so much fun watching Konner run around. I wish my parents had more grandbabies to spoil. (There are plenty of us to fulfill this little obligation.)

My Nephew

Konner is almost two now. He loves to babble on the cell phone. He would pretend to answer his phone (my mom's pink phone) and then say, "babye!" and then he would pretend to text. So cute!

Christmas Catch-up!

I have a lot of pictures to post!

It was a wonderful trip and beautiful Christmas. I got to see a lot of family and I had a wonderful time.

Let the posting begin!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

7 Hours

Well, I just ate my last bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch cereal and I finished off my carton of milk.

I have a stack of clothes piled up next to the suitcase.

I have charged my phone.

The bills are ready to go out in the mailbox.

My boots are currently defrosting next to the little space heater.

And my flight leaves in about 7 hours.

I should probably buy new nylons since mine have rips in them--but I'm going to wear them with knee high boots, so it doesn't REALLY matter.

I'm racking my brain trying to think I've forgotten anything. I hope not!

I should probably go shower now.

I bequeath the rest of the oatmeal cookies and the leftover roast to my dear roommate Sade.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm leaving tomorrow!

I am getting on a jetplane tomorrow afternoon.

I fly direct.

I fly direct.

(tee hee!!)

happy happy happy happy happy

I am in the middle of packing. I should go upstairs and figure out what clothes to pack for the week.

I'm so excited to be in UTAH!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My favorite quote from the Washington Post said:

"Traffic was treacherous and growing worse by the hour. Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson (D) declared a state of emergency and said that police would be stopping motorists and "requiring" them to return home because authorities were spending too much time rescuing stranded drivers. "

Isn't it purty!?!

It just keeps coming!

We're trapped like little rats!

The roads are covered in 2 feet of snow.

And it keeps coming!

Angelina is making gumbo.

I'm wrapping presents.

Sarah is addressing Christmas cards.

And so far I've enjoyed two bowls of Peanut Butter Crunch.

I wonder if they're gonna cancel church tomorrow!!

We've been listening to Christmas music all day long.

Right now we're listening to "Christmas Is All Around" by Billy Mack.

Oh Christmas Snow, you are so lovely to me!

Good Morning Snow!

Remember the deck last night? If not--look here.

Well Good Morning World!

Isn't it pretty?

I'm so glad I stocked up on Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal.

I'll send more pics as the day progresses because it is still falling down like crazy!

I just hope the power doesn't go out.

Fun Times in Single Land

In order to feel like I'm "out there" trying--I joined an online dating site. This site is specifically for LDS singles.

There are times where I don't really feel like this is the best idea.

Today was definitely one of those times.

Please enjoy the latest message. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a form letter that he sends to all the girls, considering the things that he says. You'd think I was parading around in a bikini instead of just smiling.

Enjoy the craziness!









i am just injoying life

i am a very blunt & honst person,!!!!!






(a friend that hear wont me to ask you ) SO ARE YOU BY CHANCE ALL NATERAL?????

so if you got any question you would like to ask me ask away!YOU WILL GET A ANCER TO ANY OF THEM





LATER (Name)

Don't you wish you were me? What a charming greeting! I hope you "injoyed" it as much I did.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Snowing!

The snow is falling and everyone on the Eastern Seaboard is going a little crazy.

I have no intention of driving in the snow,

but still . . .

It's kind of hilarious.

We have an inch of snow of the ground and all the schools are closed.
(on Saturday--so does it really count?)

In an effort to prepare for the storm of the century (see above picture for evidence),
I went to the store and stocked up on the essentials:

birthday cake ice cream
peanut butter crunch cereal
clam chowder
stove top stuffing
and of course. . .
(cause it's tasty.)

As I watch the snow flutter down, I'm reminded of King Lear's immortal words:

"Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and Hurrincanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd our cocks!"
Lear 3.2

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Papers and Princesses

I'm done with my college composition class.

So. much. writing. to. grade.

I returned journals, narratives, and research papers today.

I graded journals, narratives, and research papers until 3am and this morning at 7am until finally running off to class at 9am.

To reward myself, I went to Disney's The Princess and the Frog.

It was lovely, but I was so tired. I sat contentedly in my comfortable seat, wrapped in my green pea coat. And smiled with relief that my composition class was finished. And smiled with joy to be watching a cute Disney musical. And then, I fell asleep.

I woke up to see the ending. And I giggled at the funny trumpet playing crocodile. And I vaguely caught a lesson about choosing love and career.

Cute movie. Happy day.
It's almost 6pm. Can I go to bed now?

Monday, December 14, 2009

August: Osage County

No, I did not get to see the original cast.
But dear me, Estelle Parsons and the rest of the cast did not disappoint in the least bit.

The frame of the house overwhelmed the stage.
Characters would come and go as life changing drama unfolded in the guise of everyday events.
Throughout the entire play, I began to see my own seemingly mundane life as immensely dramatic.
Tense family dinners.
Seemingly inane discussions between siblings.
Even watching television.
All these innocuous events absorbed by audience members
as though we were watching a bloody battle
or a delirious can-can.
I just want you to know that I offered the chance for anyone of my friends on facebook to join me in seeing this groundbreaking production.

Granted, it was Friday afternoon, and flying out might have been expensive--but ooooh, if you get the chance to see it again, please do.

It's worth every dime.

The Music World's Latest Greatest Talent

Last night, I snuck into the Mount Vernon Stake Christmas program late. I didn't think I'd make it at all, but I discovered I would be able to catch the last little bit of it.

I walked in wearing jeans, (because I wasn't planning on going!) I found a seat at the back. I relaxed in my seat and watched a combined ward choir sing "The First Noel". It was beautiful.

Then President Nixon (the stake president--not the dead ex-president) told a beautiful Christmas story that made me tear up.

After that, the Mount Vernon Stake Bell Choir got up to do "Hard the Herald Angels Sing". The bell carolers were all dressed in black. They had beautiful white gloves and each of the carolers had bells of different sizes for the varying pitch.

And this little boy on the back row of the pews, just 4 rows in front of me, solemnly climbed on top of his chair.

He straightened himself and raised his little 4 year old arms--conscious of the great responsibility that he carried in conducting the performance. As the bell carol began, he waved his arms with more gusto than Amadeus himself. His little arms swung out and in and his father held his chair to be sure that he didn't accidentally tumble down from his chair. At the end of the phrases, the bell carolers would shake their bells and you could see his chubby little hands ringing out his imaginary bells.

If he got lost in the music, his head would wave and his arms would hesitate, until the choir returned to a rocking rhythm and then he would swing his arms to the beat, wide and far. He fairly jumped with the bells.

At the end of the song, the audience burst into spontaneous applause. And I thought I saw the little boy take the slightest bow.

Everyone who was privileged to sit in the Chapel Overflow had the best seat in the room. I looked around at all the smiles as we tried to hold in our laughter at this little conductor extraordinaire. It was so cute. And so wonderful.

Friday, December 11, 2009


This week hasn't been too swell.

and this is the week to make lists.

So here's a list.

1) I got angry this week because I realized that I hadn't taken my own past abuse as seriously as I should have.

2) I became angry with my abuser(s).

3) Then I realized that my self-destructive behaviors are self-abusive. Hence self-destructive.

4) Then I became angry at myself.

5) I'm angry at the people who have hurt me, but more than that--I'm angry at myself for using the memory of that to justify making decisions that aren't in my best interest.

Why can't I love myself enough to take care of myself?
Why do I get so mad at others for not loving me?

It's so clichee. I need to learn to love myself.

I think highly of myself, but I don't act with love towards myself.

I need to act with love towards myself.

I don't even care if I never have a relationship at this point. I'm so scared that I'm going to be drawn to other abusive men. I need to figure out how to fulfill my own needs so that I don't inadvertently end up falling for a man who will hurt me.

Oh the joy.

I am sure all this seems obvious, but it isn't always.

To simplify the lessons:
1) Love myself better.
2) No guys until I figure that out.
3) Allow the anger to motivate. Anger is energy. and righteous anger can motivate righteous actions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This bugs me

As a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there are certain things that annoy me. I put this out there as a diatribe to inspire change. And also to inspire mutual commiseration.

1) When a speaker says, "As we all know blah blah blah. . ."

We don't "all know". I hate this. This is the surest way to make new members and first time visitors feel alienated in a church meeting. My favorite speakers are those who present gospel stories as though they're telling them for the first time, because for someone in the audience--it is the first time they've heard of the story of Jonah and the Whale or they've heard the concept of Repentance.

2) I hate it when mormons speak in abbreviations--assuming that everyone in the room understands the translations for their abbreviations. When addressing a crowd--use the full name of things. Say Family Home Evening--not FHE. Say Doctrine and Covenants. D&C is a sad operation. I know it's awfully fun to be in the know, but it drives me crazy.

Frankly, government workers do the same thing. I was at a party where a bunch of people work in intelligence were talking and they talked about the IC, the DOD, the FBI, the CIA, the GI, etc. etc. I was completely lost.

3) I hate it when people ask a guy, "Where did you go on your mission?" This places the guy in an awkward situation. What if they didn't go? It's much better to take two seconds and say, "Did you go on a mission?" (Although this might be just as bad.) I guess what makes it better is that there isn't this implied judgment of "everyone went on a mission! Where did you go?" At least if you ask "Did you go?" it erases the notion that everyone and anyone went.

4) I hate the idea that life is somehow formulaic. If I do a and b--I will get c. If the test was that easy, we'd all ace it. This life is a test, a trial. There are wonderful people who do a, b, c and d--and they still have horrible things happen to them.

Which brings me to my next point:

5) We are not all created equally. We are not all taking the same test. There is a tendency to judge everyone equally, as though everyone in the world has the same opportunities for good and evil as everyone else. This is a horrible lie. Some of us are very fortunate and others are very unfortunate. To assume that everyone has the same opportunity for success is a horrible lie and an excuse to be judgmental and uncharitable. "If they wanted to have a good life, they could work for it like I did!"

Which leads me to my next point:

6) I can believe in the attributes of self-sufficiency AND still be a Democrat. While I understand that self-government is a worthwhile goal, I recognize that the reality of this world is that not everyone is in a position to be able to govern and help themselves.

7) Being Frugal is of less importance than being Honest. Saving a dollar doesn't justify cheating your neighbor out of their wares.

8) I have heard, but never seen (I say this with joy because I'm hoping this is a very uncommon occurrence) that there are women who are unable to leave their children with their husbands. What???? Not. Cool.

9) I hate it when a Sunday School teacher brushes over a lesson, saying "We've heard this lesson a thousand times. . . " and then brings in crazy outside quotes and complicates a simple, beautiful doctrine. Sometimes I just want to sit back and feel the Spirit comfort me and remind me of the truthfulness of a doctrine I've heard "a thousand times" before. Don't demean the simple truths. They are timeless and eternal.

10) I hate it when people misrepresent themselves. For example: They say they know something when they don't. By acknowledging your lack of wisdom--you could have opened up a wonderful teaching opportunity and helped a shyer student to learn something new as well. Another example: Saying what you think someone wants to hear, instead of expressing your true opinion on a matter. Misrepresentation is dishonesty. If we are to truly love one another--then we should know one another, warts and all.

These misgivings are found in all communities. It isn't just the mormon world that does this stuff. We all have a tendency to use terms that alienate people, or to act differently in order to make people think we're something we're not.

I'm just throwing out my two cents.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Twilight Years

This might only be funny to mormons over 31. But check it out anyway because it is hilarious.

Monday, December 7, 2009

100 Random Things About Me

I have been wanting to do a post like this for forever, but everytime I do, I go off on a tangent and instead of having random things to say---I suddenly have an entire post about one thing.

So to start this list of random things about myself--

1) When trying to make a point, I have a tendency to overdo it and I run my mouth off forever.

2) I have horrible fingernails. And I suppose I should care about this . . .

3) I love Milli Vanilli.

4) I prefer Diet Coke because if I wanted sugary soda, I'd down a tasty Rootbeer.

5) I fear boredom.

6) I miss having goals. (This will be a whole blog so I'll just leave it at that.)

7) I'm horrible with money. HORRIBLE. I have a suicidal view of money. I basically live with this horrible premise in the back of my mind, "Who cares! You're gonna die someday anyway, why not spend money while you can!" Like I said, it's subconcious so it doesn't rear its head quite high enough to cause me pause.

8) I believe that people are smart. I hate when people act dumb in order to get something that they want. It might work, but it demeans the human race. And I will probably never respect you again.

9) I don't hold grudges, but I do move on. To elaborate: I will forgive people, but in order to avoid a repeat of past offenses, I will be less likely to be around. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because I look after myself--it's bad because it doesn't always feel like true forgiveness.

10) I hate making my bed. I will never like it.

11) I love singing to the radio. The feeling of singing soothes me.

12) I am not a good mormon. I believe in the church, but I am not good at being a mormon. Case in point: I enjoy a well placed swear word. I watch rated-R movies on occassion. I go visiting teaching every other month. I did not watch the Christmas broadcast last night. I don't refer to french kissing as soul kissing, and I like it. Although I think a guy who can give a great closed mouth kiss is AWESOME. (And he's usually much better at "soul kissing" than the guy who can't wait to open his mouth.)

13) I am a good latter-day saint in that--I pray hard for my friends with faith. I do my best to mourn with those that mourn. I believe in the power of prayer. I do my best to see the best in people and to understand their true intentions. I believe that most people are trying their best and I try hard not to take offense where none is given.

14) I did not do my hair at all today. I didn't even brush it out. It is in a wet bun.

I am trying to think of other interesting random things to write, but I think that about covers it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NYC at Christmas

Michael looking dapper in front of the Rockefeller Tree.

Blurry pic, but I kinda like it. Sarah and Mikey huddling under umbrellas, looking at photos. Mike bought all 4 of us umbrellas when he saw that the snow was falling.

Ice skaters at Rockefeller Center.

Me in front of the giant tree.

Angelina and Sarah inside Radio City Music Hall.

This would be the chandelier at Radio City Music Hall.

Christmas in NYC. We were lucky enough to get there in time to see the first snowfall of the season flutter down on the city. It was perfect.

The show itself was trippy. And awesome. My favorite bit was the dancing bears. Giant stuffed bears doing ballet. The toy soldiers were incredible. During the live nativity--there were camels walking across the stage on their way to see baby Jesus. Camels. Live. Camels.

And dancing Santas.

And flying children.

It was a little trippy.

Like Disneyland in 90 minutes.

I thought I saw a sign that said no photography, but the whole place lit up with flashes during the whole show. It didn't stop me from cringing every time someone took pictures. I feel a little pretentious not just relaxing and going with the flow. It was more like a ride than a show.

Before the show, we had a very nice meal at Capital Grille. I had the peppercorn steak poivre with the creamy brandy sauce. Heaven.

After going to church in Brooklyn, we went to lunch at Fulton Market with my friend Marybeth. Marybeth lives in Queens and she has an open room. She has an open room.

I have a week to make a decision.

Kennedy Center

Christina, Marcia and I got tickets to the Kennedy Center this year. On our first visit, we decided to dress up. And then we took pictures!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm running away!

It's official. . .

I told my landlord that I was moving in March/April.

I love my house, but this upcoming contract has forced me to take a good hard look at what I want and need in life right now.

soooooo, I'm gonna move.

I love my house, but I've been here for over 2 years. And that's long enough.

I need a change.

I'm not growing. I've got to change.

So here are my options:

1) Move to an apartment in Arlington (closer to the city) with different amenities.
2) Move to New York.
3) Move to another city.

If anyone who reads this blog would like to move into the house, we're looking for residents to take over. It's a great house, but I just need a change of scenery.

Call me a glutton for punishment. I should just enjoy being here, but I can't.

I need to embrace the fact that I am single. I am single and not tied down anywhere. So I need to enjoy that.

A couple of weeks ago Addison on Private Practice talked about how no one would care if she died. She said that people would care, but it wouldn't destroy anyone. I understand that speech. I know people love me, but I can come and go and it doesn't really affect anyone else in the world.

I can be depressed about this, or I can exercise the freedom behind this predicament--and run away. I can run away to wherever I please.

In an effort to make the best out of a depressing predicament, I am going to investigate all the lovely places in the world I can gallop off to--and I fully intend to gallop come March 1st.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I feel like I'm running on empty. I'm barely getting to things on time. I have no energy at all, which doesn't make any sense considering that I sit around way too much.

BUT. . . despite all this. . .

classes have been going very well.

This morning I introduced descriptive rhetorical tools that they could use in their writing. We read some poetry, a short story, and an essay--all while pointing out the different rhetorical tools the writer used to make their points.

Then, I had them write about a dark moment in their life and the turning point that made everything better. The students immediately began to scribble their work. After working on their pieces, I invited them to share their work outloud. It was so uplifting.

One girl's story was about her broken transmission. Another student told about his first years in the US and how difficult it was not speaking English. Then he shared how wonderful it was to finally learn the language!

One student talked about being homeless and a kind nurse who offered to let her take a shower and the hope she found when she finally got a job and decided to stop using drugs. One girl talked about living in Foster care and the day she fell in love and started her own family at the County Courthouse with her love.

One girl talked about how starting college has given her hope for her future. She didn't describe her darkest moment--it was clear that she was in the middle of dark times, but she lit up as she spoke of the things she would do when she finished school.

And last but not least--dear Dominic shared a poetic picture of falling deeper and deeper into a pit and seeing a fleeting light. He talked of grabbing hold of the light and letting it guide him out of the pit. Once again, it was clear that he was in the pit at this very moment. But as we heard his story and watched him smile, we could all sense his light.

I don't know why there is so much pain in the world. I don't know why there is so much darkness.

We discussed the happy consequences of these dark times. Because of our pain, we are better empathizers. We notice the woman using the calculator at the grocery store. We notice the kid sitting on the sidewalk. We are empowered with empathy and intuition and we are bound to do our best to make the world a better place.

I believe that people who have truly suffered are better able to heal the world. And those who haven't, just don't get it. Don't hate them--they can't be held accountable for things that they haven't learned. But for those of us who understand, we are bound by our experience and our empathy to do everything we can to make the world a better place. Please let us help. It almost makes past suffering worth the pain if we can help out those who are currently in need.

I have friends and students who are truly suffering this holiday season. My heart breaks for you. And I want so much to take away your pain. I offer my prayers and my love. I wish I could give more.