Thursday, December 31, 2009

Up in the Air

Tonight I headed downtown to the Gateway to exchange a gift and catch a movie. After hitting up Barnes & Noble, then getting a gift for Elliett (it's her 7th birthday!) I settled into a viewing of Up in the Air. You may have heard about this film, as almost everyone and their dog has claimed it the best movie of 2009 (it's already won top prizes from The National Board of Review, New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, and been nominated for Golden Globes, SAG, and is a lock for multiple Oscar nominations). So naturally I was interested and had to see it.

While I liked the film, I can't quite see why everyone is so crazy about it. This is really the best film of the year? Really? The film is expertly done, with great cinematography and great shots, the acting is good, but where's the emotion. I felt sort of detached from what was going on; maybe that was the point, as the protagonist, played by George Clooney, lives a very detached life and even makes the rounds as a motivational speaker telling people to "empty their backpacks" and basically live committment and attachment-free lives. It's quite a sad message, and of course our main character spends the film figuring out if this is really the best way to live, culminating in a family member's wedding that he must save. There's another relationship in his life, with a female, that has so much buildup and chemistry that it ends rather disappointingly.

Perhaps this is the classic case of too much hype and excitement for a film meant there was no way it could live up to those expectations. That's definitely part of it, I think, but my love for Sherlock Holmes proves that sometimes a film can actually surpass those expectations.

So while I think this is a decent film, I really don't think it should be crowned the best of the year come Academy Award time. But really, the Academy could care less what I think and just really want George Clooney to be there.

Christmas Again

Last night we had Christmas with my nieces and nephew at my mom's house. They could hardly wait for Em and I to get there and then eat something before being able to open their presents. But wait they did, and I think the wait was worth it. They were all super excited about their presents; Mo was having so much fun playing with the helicopters and planes that I got him that he wouldn't take time out to go to the bathroom and almost had an accident in his new dinosaur pjs!

My brother get them one big gift this year to share: a Wii!! I think at first they weren't quite sure about, and spent the time while my brother set it up playing with their other gifts. I was excited though, and wanted to play it as soon as it was opened. But once it was set up and we started playing, the kids really loved it. We played Golf first and I somehow won. It was fun learning the technique of the hand control and getting the swing just right.

And now Christmas is officially over. Back to the regular world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Sound of You Sleeping

Sunday night, as I was watching The Sound of Music, and thoroughly enjoying it, I couldn't help but notice how it was similar to my all-time favorite movie, While You Were Sleeping. I know you're probably thinking I'm crazy, but stick with me for a little bit while I explain. Maria and Lucy both want things that are essentially good, but aren't really right for them. Maria is sure she wants to be a nun and join the life of a person in the service of God; Lucy is sure that Peter, a man she has never met or talked to, is her perfect match. When life (or God) puts obstacles in their lives, both find what it is they're really looking for.

Maria is sent to be a governess for a widowed Captain and his seven children. Although she enjoys her life at the convent and has the best of intentions, it's clear that her talents are best suited in the von Trapp household. I love that she takes the task on with so much gusto and confidence. She gives it her all, and when it turns out she comes face to face (literally, with her dance with the Captain at the ball) with what is meant to be her real purpose, she gets scared and runs. This is exactly what I would do. Maria, unlike me, decided she needs to face her problem and, with some great words of advice from Reverend Mother, returns to the von Trapps. And in returning she gets just what she wants, even if it is different than what she originally planned.

Lucy gets thrown into the world and family of her never-talked-to-love when he gets pushed onto the tracks at Lucy's booth and she rescues him. And in meeting the family, she meets Jack, Peter's brother. While Peter is in a coma (still no talking), Lucy gets the chance to talk, walk, flirt, and bond with a real live person. Instead of ending up with Peter, someone she thought she wanted, she realizes that it's really someone like Jack that she loves. Her life turned out completely different than she had envisioned (great words of advice from her dad), all thanks to doing something completely unplanned.

Sometimes we don't know why we're placed where we are. I think lots of times it's to meet people that will have some sort of affect on us. Will I meet my husband at Myriad Genetics? Maybe not, but working there will be of some sort of benefit to me. I've already documented my belief in things happening for a reason, and just want to reinforce that I think small things, things we have no idea why we're doing, things we would never dream of doing, even things we think we want, can change your life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Funk

Tonight I feel a bit in a funk. Sometimes everything hits at once, and even though you felt fine all day, a moment comes when you feel like everything is awful. That's what happened when I got home today. What's most gnawing at me and contributing to my funk is the weirdness I feel between me and some of my friends. I somehow have a way of creating controversy, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, weirdness and crying with those closest to me. And even though it's not intentional and inadvertent, it still causes pain to those I care about. It makes me sad to think things might never be the same. Friendships are very important to me and I hate for them to get weird, or worse, end completely. My big mouth and lack of proper communication have created many problems over the years.

So tonight I listen to sad songs and let the sadness run its course. Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Christmas Eve was busy. After the movie, my dad came down to have Christmas with the kids and grandkids. As we waited for Em to get off work (Walmart decided to stay open til 8:00 and Em's last minute schedule change had her working), we watched Star Wars on tv and ate some chili I'd made. My brother's ex in-laws were kind enough to let us crash their Christmas Eve night for a little bit so my dad could watch them open the presents he'd bought them.

The kids were definitely excited for the coming Christmas morning, and enjoyed getting presents the night before.

Emily finally got home (at 10:30) and we opened presents with my dad before he headed back north and we headed to bed. Christmas morning came late(r) since there aren't any kids in the house and we all wanted to sleep. We had breakfast with french toast, bacon, cinnamon rolls, clementines and scrambled eggs. At this point I was getting a little antsy, and could feel the kid inside me just wanting to open some presents.

As I've gotten older, Christmas has become a different holiday. The magic isn't quite the same when you're stressed about buying presents for family, friends, and co-workers, racing around to various parties and engagements, working and being busy; it was so much simpler when I was a kid and only worried about being good so Santa would come. As much as I hate things to change, I know that they can't stay the same forever. And so I reminisce about the wonderful Christmases I had as a kid and relish in watching my nieces and nephew enjoy the magic and wonder of Christmas.

As an adult, I appreciate that I got to spend the entire day with my mom, brother, and sister. We lounged in our pjs for most of the morning, then enjoyed one of our new traditions (started by me) of seeing a movie on Christmas Day. This year's movie was Sherlock Holmes and it did not disappoint. In fact, it was the rare occasion where my expectations were exceeded and the movie was entirely awesome. Everything, from the stylized direction by Guy Ritchie to the dialogue and banter between Holmes and Watson to the fantastic music, made it the rare blockbust/action film that is not only fun to watch but alos intelligent. I laughed, jumped, had intake of breath, and was taken away into the solving of the case. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Jared was annoyed by my picture taking and refused to participate.

He also laughed at me when I asked to have my picture taken with the poster.

When we returned home we played a rousing game of Phase 10, where there was much laughter, skipping, and phasing. It was a Merry Christmas...and I hope yours was too!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve With George Bailey

Being a movie buff, I love when I get to experience old, classic movies on the big screen in a crowded movie theater. So when I saw that The Broadway downtown would be showing It's a Wonderful Life Christmas Eve I immediately planned my entire Christmas Eve activities around it.

My mom and I arrived at the theater and hour early, and when we asked for tickets and got ready to pay, we were told it was free! Nothing beats a classic movie for free at a theater. Of course, this meant there were tons of people, but we had luckily gotten there early and got prime seats in the middle when they let the crowd in. (And just for the record, the movie is NOT rated R, but all the other movies playing in the theater were.)

The experience did not disappoint. The film was shown in it's original 35mm format and looked great. I love the theater experience so much because a crowd experience is different than a self experience; it was great to hear the crowd laugh at parts I had never outwardly laughed at before. And at the end of the movie we all clapped.

George Bailey is someone I can really relate to; when he's talking about wanting to see the world and get away from the small town, I could almost hear those exact words coming out of my mouth. And Mary. Boy is she great. She knows exactly what she wants and goes for it. She's smart, resourceful, a good mother and wife, and has a great wardrobe. I love the scene with her and George at her mother's house, and the emotions the two of them play going from anger to love.

I can't deny that I was overcome with emotion at the end, when all the towns people come over to the Bailey house and show their love for George. It's nice to know, though, that I wasn't alone--I could hear a lot of people in the theater sniffling and saw some holding wiping away tears. I think a lot of us can relate to George Bailey at one time in our life (I know that I can), and it's nice to be reminded that friends and family are most important, and that it really is a wonderful life.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Music

Music is a key part to getting myself ready for the holidays. If I'm baking, wrapping, writing cards, or just checking my e-mail, it's always on as background music. FM100 is perfect for this, as they start playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and have their "100 Hours of Christmas Music" that started on Tuesday night. I don't normally ever listen to FM100 (unless I'm in my mom's or sister's car), but when it's Christmas I can make exceptions.

When I was a kid, my mom had tons of Christmas cassettes that we would pull out for the holidays and take on trips to Salt Lake and listen to at home. Because my mom is old(er), my musical tastes for Christmas music are steeped in Johnny Mathis, Neil Diamond, Nat King Cole, and The Carpenters. It's just not Christmas without them. I've added my own favorites over the years, such as Peter Breinholt, Garth Brooks (love his, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"), Celine Dion (don't laugh; her Christmas album is pretty good. She has a voice that can do, "O Holy Night"), "The Forgotten Carols" (as long as Michael McClean isn't singing), and Sting singing, "I Saw Three Ships" (a new favorite).

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mattie H. Gets Traded

Today the Utah Jazz traded Matt Harpring, or, as I've affectionately come to call him, Mattie H. At 33, he's considered a veteran and since having some injuries, hasn't played all season (although we have been able to catch him doing play-calling on FSN and sitting in with David James, Pace, and Thurl). A couple weeks ago the Jazz and Mattie H. announced that he'd be retiring at the end of the season and, obviously, wouldn't be playing because of the injuries. Even though I knew this, I still figured my beloved Mattie H. would be with the Jazz until his contract ended, where there'd be "Mattie H. Night" at the Arena and at half there would be some sort of presentation and the fans could say goodbye to a great player. With his trade to Oklahoma City this might never happen. I would love for his final season to be played as a Jazz man, but apparently forces bigger than me and my wishes have different plans.

So in case I never get to say goodbye to Mattie H. at the Arena, let me do it here. Thanks for your intensity and toughness on the court and being a crucial element to Jazz wins. You will be missed.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Performance Hat Trick: A Busy Saturday

Wow. Saturday was quite the day. First it was to the post office to mail off some goodies to friends in Idaho and Colorado. I was dreading this. The post office around Christmas time is like entering the seventh circle of hell (in New York, the post office literally is the seventh circle of hell; ask anyone who lives in New York) and I knew the goodness of the day would depend on how well it went. I got there at 9:40, even though it didn't open til 10:00 as I was expecting a line. There was. But then a worker came out and opened the doors and said they'd be opening early!! I was in and out before 10:00. Good day.

First performance of the day was Here Comes Santa Claus at Abravanel Hall with cousin Phaedra and our nieces, Ivy and Tashena. Santa came out and even played the tuba and conducted the orchestra. We sang along and used our handmade tambourines with bells during numerous songs. Ivy even got to meet Santa and tell him what she wants for Christmas. It was lots of fun; much thanks to Phaedra for getting the tickets.

Then it was out to Ivy and Elliett's dance performance. The venue this week was much smaller than last week's and we were actual able to see Elliett the entire time. They were so adorable in their outfits and did a great job. Little Elliett is at the very end and Ivy is next to her.

To top off the night I caught my friend Cat in a production of Ebenezer Scrooge at Murray High. Cat's been working really hard at getting back into ballet and did an awesome job. I've never seen A Christmas Carol performed as a ballet; it was interesting to see the story interpreted through dance with no dialogue.
This is Cat on stage during the performance, and me congratulating her afterward.

Busy but fabulous day. The hat trick was completed with many claps and smiles.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peter Breinholt Concert

Tonight my mom and sister and I attended a Peter Breinholt Concert downtown at the Rose Wagner Theater. Just like last year, it was amazing. I love Peter Breinholt and everything about his sound. I love that he's not pretentious or showy or ego-driven; he makes music and I love it. I can't believe it's been a whole year since we went to his concert last year. Where did the year go?!

Like last year, Peter (yep, we're on a first-name basis) surrounded himself with some of the best local musicians--Ryan Shupe, David Tolk, Chris Minor, James Conley, some awesome strings people, and another mandolin/banjo player whose name I can't remember. I love how talented these guys are and the unique sound they create. One of the best moments was an arrangement of "Carol of the Bells," done to a four-part mandolin/banjo/guitar combination. Very cool.

After the show, we waited around so I could meet Peter himself. I was SO nervous; my heart was pounding and I was shaking a little. I don't know why. I guess it's just the thrill of meeting someone you admire. He was so nice and friendly; I asked him to sign my ticket because I forgot to bring one of my cds, he asked Em and I where we came from (the people before me had driven all the way from Idaho), and when I asked to take his picture he happily obliged and even put his arm around me! Awesome, even if I did feel like a complete spaz.

The Rose Wagner is a pretty cool place. Not only do they show Sundance movies during the Festival, but their bathrooms are engergy saving,

and they have neat artwork on display.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Goodies

When I bake or cook, I have to wear an apron. I'm naturally a messy person who spills a lot so an apron is essential. As an early Christmas gift, my sister bought me a holiday apron that when she walked by it at Walmart she knew I'd love it. Sunday I made some Christmas goodies and of course wore my fabulous new apron.

I made chocolate covered pretzels and my famous sugar cookies; they're the only thing I make that gets good reviews across the board every time. I really enjoy making them. I also love sharing them with people.

Tonight I finished off my baking by trying a recipe for english toffee. I LOVE toffee, and thought the recipe was pretty simple, and if I could do it then I could make it a tradition. My friend Lindsay just decided to make peanut brittle one year, and now it's a staple of her holiday baking. Toffee, like peanut brittle, requires the use of a candy thermometer and getting the concoction to the just right soft-crack/hard-crack stage. Mine, unfortunately, was taken off the burner a bit prematurely, as my toffee isn't so much hard as a bit chewy. It's still good, but I was planning on sending it to some friends and family with the other goodies and I'm not sure how I feel about sending chewy toffee.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Handel's Messiah

Today, because my usual church-buddy was sleeping off the after effects of two overnight shifts at the hospital (she's a nurse), I attended church with my roommate Margaret. For reasons I'm not going to detail here, we ended up going to a different ward than hers that met earlier so she could go in to work and get some stuff done (she works at Goldman Sachs). It's always fun attending other singles' wards. Maybe fun isn't the exact right word, but it's interesting to see how they're all basically the same. But really, that's how it is in any ward; regardless of whether you're in Salt Lake City or New York City, the church is the same, and it was a nice little reminder today as I sat in sacrament meeting.

Other than that, though, the meeting was amazing for its music. Not only was there a beautiful rendition of O Holy Night sang by a cute old man and accompanied by his son, but for our closing hymn the entire congregation sang the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. The bishop remarked that when he was in high school he sang in an a capella group and they always sang Handel's Messiah this time of year, and he was sad that many high schools are no longer allowed to sing it. The entire congregation separated themselves into the four parts--soprano, alto (where I chose to lump myself), tenor, and bass--and we proceeded to sing the "Hallelujah Chorus". And WOW, it was amazing! Even with my tone-deafness, I could tell it was something special. The music and words really are beautiful and truly written with inspiration from God.

Two Girls Dancing

Saturday Ivy and Elliett put their months of practice at Myrna's Dance Studio to good use when they performed at a huge gathering of dancing little girls and groups at Granger High. They were both so adorable in their tights, dancing shoes, and red-sequined ties. Elliett was nervous to go out, but Ivy, being the performer and drama queen that she is, told her, in her bossy, older sister voice, that they've been doing it for three years now and had nothing to be afraid of!

Unfortunately, the dancers were placed way off center on the stage, and our seats on the left side of the stage made it so Elliett was hidden behind a Christmas tree for most of the performance. Elliett, being the short little wisp that she is, was in the front of the line, and Ivy, being a tall eight-and-a-half year old was at the end.

Here they are with the flowers Aunt Tiffany got them. I love them!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Funny Twilight Parody

This is what the people in New York are doing to entertain themselves.

Twilight Years from Tom on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

An Anderson Family Christmas Party

Saturday was the annual Anderson Family Christmas Party. We all met at my Grandma's place in Bountiful and ate, talked, laughed, opened presents, and took a poll on which family members were BYU fans and which were Utah fans. I'm not quite sure of the outcome, as some people chose to write "Both" (a cop-out) or Snow (a tradition in the Anderson family) or USU (that cow college up north that had an uncle attend and a few cousins), but I think BYU won. I mean, that is where Grandma and Grandpa met.

This is my cousin Heber's wife, Shelley, their kids, and my cousin Sarah.

My cousin Karen and I with Grandma.

Grandma with the cousin picture at the Jazz game that Phaedra put in a frame.

Dad with his brother Paul and sister Kaye.

I always love getting together with family and seeing what's new with them. When I was a kid, our family Christmas party was a big deal. At Thanksgiving, all the cousins' names would go in a hat and we'd all draw a name out to see who we'd have to get a gift for. The party was always at my Uncle J. and Aunt Kaye's house in Salt Lake; there was food and goodies brought from everyone and, of course, the gift exchange. Everyone was there.

As time went on, the gift exchange stopped and we no longer got together as a big group. My grandpa has been gone for 15 years, and two years ago we put Grandma in an assisted living home in Bountiful because she was falling too much. We've gotten together pretty regularly the past six or so years, but a lot of my cousins have families of their own now, and this could possibly be our last year. I guess that's how things go, but sometimes I miss those parties of my childhood.

Thanks, Grandma, for giving us one last year, and for being the matriarch of the George Anderson Family for so long.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bright Star

Last week I had to see my Thanksgiving movie on Friday, due to work circumstances on Wednesday and the Jazz game on Thursday. But boy am I glad I waited, because even though I'm sure I would've like the movie I was originally going to see, The Informant!, it was no longer playing on Friday and I had to search for something else. Being a self-proclaimed and called film snob, I wasn't going to just go see anything. I decided to head downtown to The Broadway and see a lovely little film, Bright Star, about the poet John Keats and his love, Fanny Brawne.

I loved it.

The movie is gorgeous visually and heartbreaking emotionally. Cinematographer Greig Fraser has created a movie that is luscious and beautiful, while director and screenwriter Jane Campion has fashioned a story (based entirely on the letters John Keats wrote to Fanny and his poems) that is entirely real, true, aching, and .

The love these two had for each other was so strong and powerful that I can't help but envy them. To feel so passionately for someone, to have your life entwined with theirs, is something magical. I love how their love story plays out; from the perfect awkwardness of first meeting someone, wondering if they feel the same, to reaching that level of comfortableness and mutual love. The film is not at all sappy or stuck in the notions of the time of having to marry for money, even if the trailer would have you think differently. The trailer actually sells the film short; I like this review better.

I left the movie theater completely caught up in the story, and not a little bit infatuated with John Keats himself and the actor playing him, Ben Whishaw. I then went to the bookstore and looked for John Keats' poems. The obsession has begun.

I'll take being called a film snob if it means seeing movies like this.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Writing is Writing

Since graduating from college, I don't do much writing anymore. Scratch that, I don't do any writing. At least until I started my blog. This is the only sort of writing I do nowadays, and wouldn't ya know it, I suffer from the same writing problems I had while in school. Except then I had actual deadlines to get the writing done. Now, all I have is the draft folder staring at me from my blog list, reminding me that I have lots of things I want to write about, but have trouble finding a way to either start it or get the words to come out the way they are in my head. But, faithful readers, I will still continue to write, if only for the practice for grad school.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

All Aglow

Friday night I headed downtown to catch the lights being turned on on Temple Square. It ended up being relatively warm, making the crowds and people with strollers and slow-walking people worth it. Here's a few pics from the night:

There's nothing I love more than seeing the city get ready for the holidays, with lights not just on Temple Square but down Main Street and 300 South. It makes the city and streets feel magical, and I can't help but marvel at their beauty.

BYU Wins!

All is right with the world, and the rest of the year can now be enjoyed.

Holy War 2009 was exciting and a little nerve-wracking: penalties, players throwing punches, bad calls, OT. When Hall made that pass to George and he crossed the goal line, Jared, Emily, my mom and me just started jumping up and down and cheering. Ahh, the sweet feeling of victory.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jazz Game: A New Thanksgiving Tradition

My usual Thanksgiving tradition, besides turkey, cheese rolls, and pie, is going to see a movie. This isn't a long-standing tradition; I've probably only been doing it the past four years or so. This year, though, the Jazz had a home game on Thanksgiving, and my mom and sister (along with my cousin Phaedra) have season tickets. So I put my movie tradition on hold for a day to attend the Jazz game with my my mom, sister, brother, nieces, nephew, and cousins.

All the kids have their own jersey and looked so cute all dressed up for the game. It was all little Mo could talk about from the moment he woke up on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, he refused to take a nap before the late-starting game and ended up like this during the fourth quarter:

And to mark the momentous gathering of cousins, we took this picture to send to Grandma. Jared bought his jersey that night so he wouldn't be out of place, Marilyn was forced into buying the Jazz jacket she's sporting, and Phaedra bought the Men's Medium shirt for Karen all so when Grandma shows it to visitors we look good.

A Cadre of Cousins
That's my brother Jared, cousin Phaedra, me, cousin Marilyn, sister Emily, and cousin Karen. we are pretty awesome. It was a super fun night.


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