Monday, August 31, 2009

An Idaho Girl

I have a bag that I've been using for my school books and such this year. It's this little tote bag that I got oh, probably ten years ago, that says "Idaho Girls State," with a picture of the Gem State. I found it in a box at my mom's house and knew that I wanted to use it. I like to find ways to advertise that I'm from Idaho, and this bag seemed like the perfect way. And now, on two separate occasions in one week, it's been a way for me to talk to strangers. A girl today saw my bag while we were giving blood, and it turned out that we both lived in Pocatello and went to the same high school (albeit different years)! We talked for about ten minutes about teachers we had that were the same and people we might both know. Last week a guy in my institute class saw it and said he went to Idaho Boys State! I always love finding people who are from Idaho, and hope that this little bag of mine will continue to facilitate that.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Mini-Dose of Joy

Last night, after almost watching, at the recommendation of a trusted source, a British Comedy on PBS/KUED, I settled in to a long overdue viewing of Conan. He was hilarious, as always, and never more so as when he gave the audience a "Mini-Dose of Joy"--in the form of Puppies dressed as Cats:

My life has been crazy and full of a drama the past couple weeks, so thank you, Conan, for giving me that little dose of joy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Up with the End of Summer

With the start of classes on Monday, summer officially came to an end. And with that end, I'd like to give my review of the summer in terms of movies (hey, I was a film studies major!). I'd like to say I saw all the big blockbusters released, but the film snob inside of me just wouldn't allow me to see Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (I finally watched the first one a few weeks ago and thought it was awful) or G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. And you know what, I don't feel any sadness about not seeing them.

Lest you think me a complete film snob, though, let me tell you that I saw Star Trek, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator: Salvation, Angels and Demons, The Proposal, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Brothers Bloom (for indie cred), and Julie and Julia. I enjoyed (most) of them, but the one that takes the cake is Up.

This movie is the reason why I enjoy going to a movie theater, plopping down my hard-earned dough, sitting in sometimes uncomfortable seats and dealing with people that won't stop talking for two hours. I watched this movie, that I cried three separate times in, and felt like I was experiencing everything. I wasn't in a darkened movie theater, I was in a house floating by balloons. I wasn't lost in my own problems, but feeling those of Carl and Russell. I wasn't living in Utah, but instead in Paradise Falls, Venezuela. I'm hard pressed to find a film that is better at portraying marriage than this one, or the joy of spending your life with those you love than this one, or the importance of recognizing the positive influence you can be in other peoples lives than this one.

So if you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to get some balloons and make your way to the movie theater for an experience you will love.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I felt exactly the way Mel Gibson did in that scene yesterday when I got my very own UTA-ED Bus Pass! I had it in my hands and felt like I should yell out "Freedom!!!", but not wanting to cause a scene, or look foolish, I simply put it in my wallet and walked off--but with a jump in my step and a smile on my face. I really felt like, with that card in my hand, my possibilities were endless; I am now able to ride TRAX and all the buses wherever I want, free of charge (well, I am paying tuition in order to get the card...). And so this morning I used my freedom to full extent, catching buses and trains to make it here to the Library on campus and eventually to class.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day

I write this as I sit in the (newly renovated) library at the University of Utah. Today is the first day of classes, and let me tell ya, it feels good to be back in school. It's different being here as a graduate student (I feel more wise and a lot older than everyone else) but in other ways is just the same. My first class is Intro to Transportation and I already love it. What I don't love is being on the graduate level and having to the extra papers and work that I used to think would be just awful when I was an undergrad. But, alas, such is life when you try to move onward and upward. I really like my teacher, though, and think I can learn a lot from him. I am now off to my second class of the day, Urbanization. I get a little tired at this point in the day and hope I can stay awake...

Friday, August 21, 2009

School Supplies

I am now officially ready for classes to start on Monday: I bought a notebook. I've always loved getting new supplies for the coming school year, but it seems that the older you get and farther into school you get school supplies become nonexistent. But ever since I started college, way back in 2001, I have made it a tradition to buy a notebook with the school I'm attending on the cover. Snow College--a pretty green one. Salt Lake Community College--a rad purple one. University of Utah--a pink one so no one would suspect me a fan of the sports teams. Since I'm not officially a student this semester, and I'm only taking three (maybe two) classes, I just bought one at Walmart. Classes may now commence.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good Seats, Great Concerts

Sunday. Green Day Concert. My cousin Phaedra and I present our tickets to the ticket-taker. Told our tickets cannot be accepted and we need to go to the Box Office. Nervousness. Bewilderment. Box Office agent proceeds to exchange our upper bowl seats for two in the lower bowl. Complete Awesomeness.

Monday. Sundance Outdoor Theater at the Sundance Resort. My cousin Phaedra and I arrive five minutes before scheduled start time. General admission. No blankets. All seating not on grass seems to be full. We find spot big enough for two... six rows up, dead center. Perfect. Play starts shortly thereafter.

So the Green Day concert was awesome, and not just because of our great seats. For my first Green Day concert, my brother, his wife, and I bought tickets. Months later when the concert arrived, brother and wife were divorced. Both still went. I sat in the middle. Talk about awkward. So this go around was a little bit better.

Green Day came on around nine and played for a good two, two and half hours. For that amount of time, they surprisingly didn't play a lot of songs (considering they've been around since '94 and have released 6 cds). Most of the stage time was for Billie Joe and his manic stage presence/antics; he enjoyed pulling people from the crowd (which he did about four times), making his mom come on stage from her seat in the arena (which was actually kinda cool), insisting on making us sing "Hey, ohhhh" with him between every song, and using a supersoaker and toilet-paper gun on the pit audience.

But I completely enjoyed it. Going to a concert should be a different experience than just listening to a cd, and this was. There was pyrotechnics, Billie Joe's aforementioned stage show, lights, and, yes, the music. I've never given Billie Joe much credit as a singer, assuming that a lot of it was made in the studio, but I was really impressed with him; he has a lot more singing talent that was showcased during the concert than I ever thought.

The next night we went up to the Sundance Resort and with the backdrop of mountains and sky watched a performance of The Fantasticks. I had no clue what it was about, but was completely enchanted within the first couple of songs. And nothing is funnier than Henry and Mortimer doing classic Shakespeare line readings and classic death scenes. It was a first-class production. Beautiful all around.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Weekend in Salmon

My friend Nicki invited me up to her aunt's ranch in Salmon, ID last week. Here are some pictures from the four days in the mountains. And even though there are pictures of horses, and even one with me on a horse, I am in no way a cowgirl. I tried to get the horses I rode to listen to me but they sadly knew that they were the master.

I was also able to participate in "piping," which is moving pipe to water the fields. I've never moved pipe before and there were little kids running circles around me! Apparently it's a tradition for the Barton family when they go up to the ranch to help with the pipe moving. I can definitely say that when I drive down the freeway and look out on the fields and the sprinklers watering them I'll look out on it with a different perspective.

Saturday was the Rodeo, where everyone (except me) participated in rodeo games such as barrels, rescue rider, flags, and toilet-paper (where two riders each hold one end of a line of toilet paper and have to ride down and back up without it breaking). I had a good time watching, cheering, and playing with the all the kids. I also got a pretty nice tan while standing there.

We also rode out on our horses and picked berries for jam. I guess I should mention that on the way home, as my horse decided to throw caution to the wind and gallop much faster than I wanted despite my repeated pulls on the reins, most of the berries fell out and were crushed between my thighs and the saddle. I eventually dropped the bucket when I decided I should be using that hand to hang on. While I walked back to the scene of the crime to pick up the lost bucket and berries, Nicki and her oh-so-adorable cousin Bridger were thrown off their horse, Banana. This was not a result of Nicki not knowing what she's doing on horse, because she is quite skilled, as are all the other kids, but a result of a few different factors that when put together ended with her and Bridger on the ground. Nicki and I each saw each other cry this weekend, therefore solidifying our friendship.

It was a great weekend of family, food, s'mores, sun, rain, kittens, work, playing, horses, dogs, berry picking, napping, cards, and enjoying the beautiful mountains. I love when I get the chance to experience all the different things that make this country so amazing. As much as I am a city girl and love being in big cities, there's also a part of me that wants to just stay up in the mountains forever. I find beauty in the crazy, crowded streets and skyscrapers of New York just as I do in the serene, open land and sky of the mountains.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Train is Finally Moving

Remember a little bit ago when I hinted about adventures forthcoming? Would you like to know what one of them is now? Drumroll please.... I'm starting up school again!! For anyone not familiar, I got my undergraduate degree in Film Studies and moved out to New York City to claim my fame and fortune. I decided that my fame and fortune lied in a different path and chose to come back home to capture it (not because I was broke and didn't have a job, as my mom told everyone at our family reunion; but that's sadly my predicament now).

So on August 24th I'll start classes that will go toward a Masters Degree in Urban Planning. I'm not officially a grad student yet, but once I take the GRE and pass it I can apply for the graduate program in Spring. Wow. I'm a little bit daunted about taking graduate level classes in something I have no background in, but hopefully I'll be able to get my school juices flowing again and really excel. I've known what my path should be for so long and it feels good to finally be moving down that path. So step aside everyone, this train is rolling out of the station!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Day at the Zoo

My sister and I decided to rock the Best Aunts title and took Ivy and Elliett to the zoo last week. We did all the things that are zoo musts: ride the train, get face painted, eat snow cones, take a ride (or two) on the carousel, check out the animals, and complain at the end of the day about the heat and sore feet.

We saw an 8-day old baby giraffe, rhinos, snakes, turtles, snow leopards, bears, zebras, spiders, and my personal favorite, elephants. Well, we actually only saw one elephant, as the pregnant female we were told was going to give birth that day!

Maybe I'm projecting a bit too much, but some of the animals seemed so sad. It somehow seemed wrong for them to be in cages for all us humans to gawk and stare at. Imagine if there was a human zoo and the animals all got to come and see us in our "natural" habitats while their kids tapped the glass and waited for us to do something cool.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This is Why I Miss New York

As most of you know, I don't have a car. It's the first thing I sold before moving to New York and will probably be the last thing I buy since returning. It is very frustrating not having a car, especially after being so accustomed to the wonderful public transportation system in New York. I have to catch rides everywhere and always feel like a burden; I've never been very good at having to rely on other people.

I rely on two friends to get me to church on Sundays. The one had to work and the other texted me at 11:40 saying she was called into work and couldn't pick me up. Normally in this situation I would just walk to a church meeting in my neighbor, but I had a very important meeting with the bishop at 1:40 that I did not want to miss. So I called everyone I knew--Amber, Mary, Phaedra, mom, Joylynne, and finally my brother. None answered. By this point it was nearly one and I decided to just walk to a church nearby. As I was out on the sidewalk something that never happens happened--my brother returned my phone call. Seriously, he never returns calls and never checks his messages. It was quite literally an answer to my prayers. So thank you Jared for picking me up for church!

Oh New York how I miss you and your subways and buses that run on Sundays.

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