Sunday, December 29, 2013

A 2013 Overview in Photos

I was randomly perusing my Google+ photos tonight (my phone automatically backups my photos there; it's awesome) and came across two very amazing things, 1) photos from the Built Environment Summit that I thought I had lost, and 2) this video that Google+ made for me, randomly putting together photos.

Google managed to capture some of my favorite moments in their randomness--the Glow Run 5K, clouds, Topeka, meetings with friends, graduation, special people, my book party, cousin weekend and ward activities. However, only one picture of Biscuit. It was a pretty awesome year. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

How To Get Free Ice Cream From the Airport

My flight out of SLC was at 10:30am, and to make sure I didn't miss my flight like the last time I flew out of SLC, I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The check-in process was fast, the security area was amazingly speedy, and I was then left with time to walk to the other end of the airport to get a Jamba Juice. As I was drinking my lovely cup of Caribbean passion, the time for us to board came and went. The lady working the gate kept assuring us that we were just waiting on our flight attendants, who would soon be landing and making their way over from two gates down.

Well, we kept waiting and waiting. And no flight attendants showed up. The gate-lady called over a man in a striking red blazer, who was clearly some sort of supervisor/hot shot. After gate-lady told him the issue, he made some calls. Apparently the flight attendants assigned to our flight were re-reouted mid-air but did not get the message. So they were likely off property enjoying their three hours of downtime in amazing Salt Lake City (I added the amazing). Red blazer guy told us that flight attendants have a two-hour call time, so the earliest we would leave would probably be 1 or 1:30. It was currently 11:30.

I hung out in the gate area for awhile, then decided I should take advantage of the Cafe Rio in the airport and get something to eat. I asked gate-lady if I could leave and the plane wouldn't take off without me. She assured me that no one would be left behind.

I returned to gate B10 after making the trek to Cafe Rio and lunching. The waiting area was clear of the people who were on my Kansas City flight, which I thought was strange. It was only 12:35. Gate-lady was also gone, but then she showed up a few minutes later (everyone needs a lunch break). The screen at first showed the info for my KC flight, but then it changed to information for a flight to San Antonio. I politely asked gate-lady what the status was for the KC flight. Without missing a beat she said, "That flight left."

I was a bit startled and got up to stand at the counter. She said she had left to get lunch and was assured by her replacement that no one would be left behind. They would make public announcements to make sure everyone got on. I was in a different concourse and clearly missed my PA. She felt very bad because she had assured me I wouldn't be left behind. And the plane had only left about ten minutes ago.

At this point I could feel myself starting to get frantic, thinking I'd have to wait for an 8pm flight, which would be awful. Gate-lady immediately booked me on a 1:55 pm flight to KC, which coincidentally I had nearly purchased but had decided to go for the earlier flight so I wouldn't have to drive in the dark if it happened to be bad weather. Also, my friend Kate was on the 1:55 flight to KC.

Since she felt bad, gate-lady gave me a food voucher to use in the airport. A PinkBerry was located right next to my new gate, and I stopped there to get some coconut frozen yogurt. I ate it as I sat and waited and talked with my friend Kate. And it all worked out.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ready to Go

I have a very early flight tomorrow morning out of Kansas City. So early that I need to leave Topeka around 3:30am. However, I'm not very tired right now.....

I left work early because there was absolutely nothing going on. I hit up the local used bookstore and made out like a bandit with books for me and books for people I love for Christmas. I cleaned up my home and cleaned out my fridge. I have put my Christmas gifts in a single backpack that I intend to carry on the plane with me. This traveling for Christmas is sort of a logistical nightmare--I also have goodies I'm trying to take.

I hate packing more than just about anything. I over analyze what to pack and therefore over pack. It's also supposed to be zero degrees at 4 in the morning, so catching the shuttle bus from the parking lot is going to be super awesome.Also, I've been sneezing a lot, which is a sure sign that I'm getting sick. Which is so very lame.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I've Been Doing Things

I've been doing things this month, I just haven't blogged about them. I don't generally like to blog about things once they've passed about five days after doing them. So here's a quick rundown:
--planned and pulled off my Ward Christmas Party, which was a lot of work but so much fun. An amazing  night
--saw Mass. Street in Lawrence all lit up for the holidays
--went to Denver for a cousin's weekend. We went to a Jazz/Nuggets game (the Jazz won!) and an Avalanche hockey game the next night. It was such a fun time.
--traveled to Des Moines for work to tour their transit provider, DART, and learn from them. I love transit so this was awesome for me. Also, the hotel we stayed in was rumored to be haunted.
--went to Kansas City with some friends to check out the lights at Crown Center and the Plaza. We then went to the Melting Pot and proceeded to overload on chocolate.

And now I'm finishing up everything I need to to fly out to Salt Lake on Christmas Eve. I've already made and frosted my last batch of sugar cookies, and now it's on to the daunting task of making pajama bottoms for my nieces and nephews. And then wrapping presents. Going to work tomorrow is going to be seriously awful.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Slide Out

Topeka got some snow last night. Not a lot, but enough to make the roads a little slick and icy. Despite this, I decided to take the "back road" to church today. It was 10 o'clock and I figured the roads would be fairly good at that point. And they were....for the most part. I was going on my merry way, past the halfway point, thinking about things, when I went into a curve and all of a sudden lost control. I was in the other lane, my car perpendicular to the road. I was moving my steering wheel but my tires were not gripping onto anything. I was going back and forth between the lanes and I was terrified I would slide into a tree or a mile marker or another car. Thankfully this was a part of the road that had a large grass area before becoming tree land. My car slid to a stop here.

I was okay, my car was okay. However, the grass I landed in was on a slope and I couldn't get any traction to get my car out--my tires just kept spinning until smoke came out. I was shaking and scared and wasn't sure what to do. The road wasn't heavily traveled as it's a Sunday and bad weather. I just dialed 911 and told them I had slid off the road on US 40, but I was okay and my car was okay but my car was stuck.

A police officer was sent out, and all he did was call a tow truck.Which was rather expensive and sort of a hassle because they only take cash and I never have cash on me let alone $100. I don't even have a local bank. It eventually got taken care of. I was really sorry I hadn't gotten someone to stop and help me to save myself the money and hassle.

I was shaky and frazzled during church, and took the freeway home.

                        My tire marks, and my car on the side of the road.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Talkin' Transit

This week I found myself talking about transit like I'm someone in the industry. And I am. I'm a working professional in planning and sometimes I still think that's so awesome.

Monday I was in a meeting at the Capitol Building discussing a bus shelter we wanted to place on the corner of their property. The room was full of important people and I was pleased to know that some of them knew me by name. Also, my boss and I were the only females in the room. The meeting was slightly discouraging because a few of the more vocal people had views that regarding transit as "those people". I finally had to speak up and say, essentially, that people who ride transit are people too and their needs are important too. And if we want to lessen traffic then we should promote transit and make it a viable alternative. I'm not sure if my boss approved of my words, she never said anything, but one person in the meeting told me the next day he thought it was ballsy. And I stand by my words.

Thursday I was in a meeting for transportation related issues. Many of the conversations involved a level of technical knowledge beyond what I have, but it was all very interesting. And again, I was in a room full of knowledgeable people talking about transportation.

Today I was having lunch at Bobo's, discussing transit issues in Salt Lake with a date. The place is very small, and we were seated at the counter, so the couple next to us could hear our conversation. She asked if I was a transportation planner. I said yes, sort of. She said that she used to be the Secretary of Transportation at KDOT, and she asked about my job and if I worked for the MPO or the City and the Mayor was someone she knew. It was all very cool.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Miracle on Kansas Parade

Last night was my third parade event in Topeka. This one is apparently the biggest, most important one in Topeka. It's at night and is lighted and is longer than any of the other parades. Obviously I wanted to share this event with my friends.

Kate and Tomas came from Lawrence and enjoyed the warm-for-December weather as we watched the parade. We saw multiple Santas, Snoopy, motorcycles, hot air balloon fire-makers, a big duck, a huge cow, and lots of dogs from the Helping Hands Humane Society (which is where I got Biscuit). Candy was also thrown.

Kate and I with the big, hip duck.

 Tomas and I with the fire. He doesn't smile for cameras, but was having a good time.

 Topeka Metro had a bus in the parade!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Hockey Game

Topeka has a local hockey team that is part of the NAHL, the Topeka Roadrunners. The team is made up of very young guys, some still in high school, and they live with host families in Topeka that provide them with a place to live and, I assume, with meals and whatnot. Amber has been to many games in the seven or years she's lived here. Tonight was my first not only Roadrunner game, but hockey game in general.

First off, I know nothing about hockey, except that it's a very contact sport and Canadians really like it. I had no idea how contact it was. Not five minutes into the first period a player threw off his gloves and just punching another player as if they were in a boxing ring or out on the playground. And the refs just watched it happen! I had no idea you could actually throw punches! Wow! The fans are pretty intense as well, more intense than other sports.

We had a fun time. However, I am looking forward to seeing the "big boys" play when I head to Denver in a couple weeks to see not only the Jazz play the Nuggets but the Avalanche play as well!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I've only been away from home for Thanksgiving twice before. Both those times I lived in New York. This year was my first away from home while living in Kansas. I was just in SLC a month ago, and will be going home for Christmas, so it didn't seem prudent to also go home for turkey day.

Which is totally fine. My friend Susan invited me to have it with her family. It was actually hers and two others, these three families that  have inter-married. The guest list was so large that it was held at the Institute. I was not alone, however, in the sea of family members--some of my friends from church who didn't go home either were there as well. We sat at our own table and had a good time.

And, as is my tradition, I saw a movie and wrangled a couple others to go with me. I felt this was a weak year for movie offerings on Thanksgiving and so we settled for seeing The Delivery Man. It was okay.

It was a nice day and I'm happy with who I spent it with. There is always much to be thankful for. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BYU Basketball Game

There are always BYU fans wherever you go. That's what happens when you're a member of a worldwide church that has its own university. That's why so many of my friends here are BYU alumni and therefore fans (it also helps that Payless is headquartered in Topeka and recruits heavily business students from BYU). I never went to the Y, but I have been a fan all my life.

Last night five of us made the short trek east to Kansas City to see the cougars take on Wichita State in the CBE Hall of Fame Tournament. Four of were sporting BYU shirts, while Paige had on a Shockers t-shirt because she's from Wichita. And she was in the majority! Wichita is only three hours from KC, so it was practically a home game for the Shockers. However, my friends and I were very loud and I did an obscene amount of dancing during timeouts.

The Cougars didn't end up winning, but it was a close, exciting game.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I Saw Catching Fire

Thursday night I met up with some friends in Lawrence to see Catching Fire at an 11:15 showing. We had dinner first at Five Guys, then spent two hours standing in various lines at the movie theater, playing charades with our phone, before we settle into the theater for the movie. Even if the movie ended up being awful, the night was so much fun.

But the movie wasn't awful. In fact it was amazing. I would dare say even perfect. I wasn't completely taken with the first movie. It wasn't awful by any means, but I left the theater feeling fairly unsatisfied. This one did not.

This movie goes to show how important a director is to a movie. All the actors were the same, but the director was different, and the performances feel more organic than forced. All the actors seem to be more comfortable in their roles and do great gobs. A lot of new characters are introduced in this installment, and there was some concern that Finnick wouldn't be done right. Sam Claflin nailed it. The movie has a ton of awesome, respected actors in roles--Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson.

The movies gets going and doesn't stop. A few things were rearranged from the book, but they worked well and didn't alter anything. My excitement for this movie was a bit tempered after the first one; that one had a lot of build up between my friends and I and I was underwhelmed. I went it with a lot less expectation and came out completely captivated. 

And I must say that Josh Hutcherson's performance and look of Peeta is much better. He's an attractive guy in real life, but that blonde hair does not do him any favors. He's thankfully spared any Miami Vice-like costumes or too-slicked back hair in this one. And, as my sister succinctly put it, no lame cave scenes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Old Foto Friday

My grandma had a photo book that she kept in her home. I'd always look through it whenever I was there, even though I'd looked through it a million times and the pictures never changed. After she passed away, I took some of those pictures (because I am a picture fanatic). This picture is one of them.

I really love this one of Grandma and Grandpa holding a great-grandbaby looking at picture of who knows what. Probably a grandkid. Grandpa passed away when there was only on great-grandbaby, so I'm pretty confident that this is Max, my cousin Karlyn's baby. Max is 17 or 18 now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Camera Loves Me

Or so my co-workers like to rib me about! I went to a public meeting about the master plan for the Parks and Recreation. I went purely as a citizen. The news was there, of course, to have a story on the event. I got on camera as a person in the audience, and the next morning my co-worker exclaimed, upon seeing me, "I saw you on the news!" That of course led to a search of the news station's webpage to pull up the video I was in. And of course just watching the video wasn't enough, my co-workers had to take a screen shot and send it out to the department.

I can take the ribbing, because I know they are all great people and teasing me because they like me. I can handle it. I'm just glad my hair was looking great that day.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Weekend at the Lake

Saturday and Sunday I spent time at Lake Wabaunsee. When I was a kid and would spend my summers in Topeka with Amber and her family, most of our time was spent at their cabin on Lake Wabaunsee. We'd swim and fish and get sun burned and row the row boat and all around just chill. It was awesome and I loved every minute of it (my family didn't have a cabin at lake and we were generally not "lake" people). A few years ago, the cabin was sold. Amber's husband's family, however, also has a cabin on Lake Wabaunsee. Right across the cove from Amber's dock. Amber and Matt didn't know each other growing up, and it's crazy to think that all those years Amber was right across the cove from her future husband.

They went to the lake this weekend and invited me to come as well. It was nice to just hang out and do nothing. We played gin rummy, watched the Olympic qualifying rounds of curling, made s'mores, and just enjoyed the free time. Even with the crazy windy weather, Amber I took a walk around the lake Saturday afternoon. The sunset was spectacular and I took a few pics (of course).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Drove to Salt Lake

A couple weeks I got in my car and drove out to Salt Lake City. I had a few reasons for this:
  • it was not only my sister's birthday but also my best friends!
  • there were things I had from my grandma's home that I couldn't take back on the airplane when I was out there for the funeral in July
  • to see my cousin and her new baby in Denver
  • to get a few days off of work
  • break in my car with a road trip
The trip was long, but it was nice to get there and spend time with family and friends. I went to Lagoon with Emily and Lindsay, saw my nieces and nephew do their Primary program, had cake and ice cream with Auntie Em, broke bread with some close friends, and enjoyed the fabulous weather. I came back with more in my car than I left with. I'll have a whole post about the things I got from my grandparents' home.

I don't think I'll drive out again any time soon, as I can fly and get there in 3 hours. Although, I am driving to Denver in December....

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I Live in Kansas

I had been in New York for about two weeks when I went to a movie at the AMC Lincoln Square. I saw The Jane Austen Book Club, and when I left the theater it was twilight--that perfect time of night when the sun is almost set and everything looks so lovely. I stood outside the movie theater and looked downtown to see a bevy of cars and the New Yorker building; all the building lights were on along with car lights zooming down Broadway. The City was alive and amazing. And it hit me: I live in New York City. It was powerful and I felt alive. I'd get that same feeling every once in awhile, just random moments where it'd really hit me that I lived in New York City.

One time I left the movie theater here in Topeka, and the sun was setting and the flat landscape looked so beautiful. There wasn't a million cars and lights overloading my senses. It was quiet and lovely. And it hit me--I live in Kansas. I get that feeling every once in awhile, generally when I see the sun setting over the plains. Tonight I was driving home from Lawrence on US 40 after seeing a movie. The sun was nearly set and it was a cloudless night. The trees were silhouetted against the orange/blue/black sky and it was like I could see for miles. It was lovely.

I live in Kansas.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Your Favorite Book Book Club

When I left Salt Lake I left behind a book club that I loved. To sort of get that going again, but without the hassle of recruiting members and picking a book and then feeling guilty for not reading the book, I decided to have a "book club" where everyone would bring their favorite book. I also wanted a chance to have people over to my loft.

Last night my friends descended and we all shared our books. Some people didn't have their actual favorite (many of my friends are students at KU so they don't have all their belongings with them), but brought a book that they liked anyway. Here's what everyone brought:
  • Me: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I shared a lengthy introduction on why I loved this novel and Jane and Mr. Rochester, relating how I bought it in highschool but didn't really read it until I lived in New York.)
  • Andrew: Locked On by Tom Clancy (follows the story of Jack Ryan's son, Jack Ryan, Jr.)
  • Janae: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (a true story)
  • Aaron: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (a classic, but no one else had read it)
  • Will, brought a bag of books to share, a few of them: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky, The Natural by Bernard Malamud, A Separate Peace by John Knowles (this is the one he decided to share an excerpt from)
  • Paige: Elephants on Acid & Other Bizarre Experiements by Alex Boese
  • Tomas: Times Alone: Selected Poems of Antonio Machado (he read a poem to us in English and Spanish)
  • Steven: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (the book is crazy but a fun read)
  • Emma: Silas Marner by George Eliot (I've never heard of this book) and, for fun Flirting 101 which we all had fun with
  • Sherri:  The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (she's visited the home of Ma and Pa in South Dakota and shared pictures)
  • Jessica: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (the most political book of the night, although we steered clear of political discussion)
  • Kate: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (she read it aloud to us librarian-style; it was a perfect book to end on


Also, upon first seeing Biscuit everyone exclaimed how large she is! Yeah, she's fat and I love her.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Glow Run 5k

The Glow Run 5k in Lawrence was kind of amazing. First of all, similar to sporting events, everything is better at night. Add on to that glow sticks and amazing people to run with, and you have all the makings of a perfect time.

 We re-used our tutus from the Color Vibe and snazzed them up with colored tights.

I'm so proud of Amber and how far she's come! It was April when I suggested to her doing a 5k, telling her all she needed to do was get an app on her phone and start slowly. Amber has amazing motivation and dedication, and after our first 5k she just kept going. She's been eating better and exercising, and since April she has lost over 50 pounds!

I ran the whole race, setting my best time yet for a 5k (the course was actually only 2.75 miles)! Amber's friend Bridget and I just kept running, knowing that if we stopped we wouldn't get going again. With it being race day and the adrenaline and the atmosphere, I felt great! Thanks to Amber for keeping me motivated!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Old Foto Friday

Grandma with Ivy. I think was when we were out there for the Fourth of July 2002. I guess it could be 2001; I have no idea how to tell how old babies are. Does Ivy look like she's 3 months or 15 months? Probably 15, right?? At any rate, this is grandma great with another one of her grandbabies. I love that in the back is a photo of grandma holding a grandbaby.

My grandma always loved wearing lipstick. I love that about her.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Losing It: Moving Sucks

I have lived in my loft for seven and a half months. Before this, I lived in my apartment in the avenues for two years. Everything had its place and I knew where it was. There are still a few things I haven't unpacked yet, but my books and picture frames were the two things I had to get out to feel settled.

I have unpacked all my books and all my picture frames, and I'm missing some! I have picture frames from Hawaii, Hollywood and New York and I can't find them anywhere. All my picture frames were in two boxes, both of which have been completely unpacked. Just tonight I realized that I am also missing my copy of The Book Thief. My friend Pam gave this to me and I love it. All my book boxes have been unpacked and it is nowhere to be found. Perhaps I've lent it to someone, but I got it back from my best friend Lindsay just before I moved so this seems unlikely.

I am convinced there is a random box somewhere with these items in it. Maybe it went to the DI on accident. Maybe it fell off the truck. Maybe I never put it in the truck. Whatever the reason, I'm super bummed that I've lost these things.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ren Fest and The Goonies

Saturday, with near-perfect weather, Amber, her friend Jenn, and I made the small drive to Bonner Springs to check out the Renaissance Festival. Amber goes almost every year and really wanted to share the experience with me.

It was a pretty fun time. There are people dressed up in all sorts of renaissance garb, and a surprising amount of "Dr. Who" costumes, just walking around eating turkey legs. We checked out the shops, the jewelery, the Jolly Rogers, the jousters, the food and the people. Amber bought a pretty sweet outfit, I bought a pair of earrings, and Jenn bought some perfume she's been looking for for awhile. We all left satisfied (well, almost....there's a story with a ring that I found but was too small) and tired.

Then Amber and I headed to the State Capitol to watch The Goonies on the south lawn. It was a little chilly (the temperature had dropped nearly 30 degrees from the day before) but perfect. Movies outside in a park are one of my favorite things of summer, and I was bummed that there didn't seem to be any of them in Topeka.

The Goonies never gets old. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Old Foto Friday

I cam across this photo when I was at my grandparents' home after my grandma's funeral in July. We must've decided to get a picture of all the girls on the porch. In the back row is my mom, my cousin Marilyn and my cousin Phaedra. The middle row is my Aunt Kaye, my cousin Allison, my cousin Kristine and my Aunt Virginia. Emily and I are in the front. Note that Emily is smiling and happy! I remember wearing this dress to my pre-school graduation (I loved it), so this is sometime in '88 I'm guessing. I'm really loving all our outfits.

We are on the porch of my grandma and grandpa's home in Moroni, UT. The porch looked out on Main Street, and we'd always end up there on cool nights watching the world go by.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trivia Champions!

Saturday afternoon, with the rain cancelling Amber's and my plans to go to the Renaissance Festival, my friend Susan invited me to be on her team for the Library's Trivia Challenge. Susan has lived in Topeka all her life (except her stint at a missionary and her time matriculating at BYU) and knows all the cool things to do in Topeka. This is really nice, especially because there's a general perception around here that there is nothing cool in Topeka and you must travel to Lawrence if you want to do anything cool.

Our team of six had a  lot of knowledge, which is what you want on a trivia team. Some people excelled in many areas, while I was obviously only good for the round dealing with movies and television shows. We ended up tying for the win and had to answer a tie-breaker question correctly. We did because we're awesome and won a trophy, which you can us proudly displaying on the library's website.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Accent

A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with someone at work. She told me, after a little while, that I had an accent and she could tell I wasn't from Kansas. She said certain intonations of mine were different than what it used here. I have always wanted to have an accent, so this was a pretty cool moment. But I wondered what kind of accent I had. Idaho? Utah? Intermountain West?

Then, last week I was having a conversation with someone from Idaho. And I noticed that certain words they said were in a similar way I or someone from Idaho would say it--just in the enunciation of a vowel in a word.

When I visited my friend Pam in PA once I noticed how the radio DJs pronounced Allegheny and Carnegie much differently than I did, putting their emphasis in different places. I think people in Kansas definitely have an accent. Or at least a regional way of speaking, such as adding 'r's to their words (warsh, instead of wash) or saying catty-corner instead of kitty-corner.  And we all know that people from Idaho call it pop instead of soda.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Mom

My mom grew up on a potato farm in southeastern Idaho. Her and her six sisters worked on the farm, doing the work any boy would do. They'd play softball with their dad. When she was young and single, and one semester short of graduating from Ricks College, she moved to the big city--Salt Lake City. She worked and dated and lived.

When I was growing up, my mom went to all my activities and little events. I might have been an overachiever in elementary school, which meant she had to go to a lot of things, even assemblies where I was awarded with "Perfect Attendance" or something just as silly.

My mom worked full time. She'd come home from work and cook dinner (which was not her favorite thing to do). She'd make sure we did our homework. She played on her work's yearly softball team, where she was the catcher.

My mom loved to take Sunday drives into the mountains, just going without a plan of where.

My mom works hard. She loves being a grandma. She always helps me out whenever she can. She's helped me move across the country twice. I probably don't do nearly enough for her. Sometimes I'm a brat to her. I've  learned a lot from my mom, mainly that I can do whatever I want. Some would call that being independent, which for a girl can sometimes be a bad label. But I'm okay with it because that's what my mom is.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Old Foto Friday

This is my friend Holli and I at her baby shower, Pocatello, ID, Summer 2005. I had just returned from a camping trip near Jackson Hole a couple days before, but made the trip from Salt Lake because Holli is awesome. We met when we both worked at Wendy's in high school. That was fourteen years ago, and when this photo was taken I hadn't worked at Wendy's or lived in Pocatello for almost two years. Holli's daughter, Erika, just turned 8 last week, so I thought this photo was fitting.

Newlyweds Have Disagreements

Of course a day after I gushed about being a newlywed with my job I would have a day where I was super frustrated with it. It seemed all the bad news and blanket criticism was coming not only on the same day, but also in a condensed time period of about two hours.

I do not have a thick skin. I let small criticisms, even those that aren't about me specifically but what I support in general, get under my skin. I feel very intense emotions that sort of consume me for a little while. Perhaps I will develop a thick skin as I progress in my career. Maybe I won't and there will always be days when I want to have a little cry.

On those days, I'll have some ice cream.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Still a Job-Newlywed

I've been at my job a whole whopping six and a half months. You could say I'm in the "newlywed" stage with my job--I still get excited when I see my name printed in something with my job title after it; I like going to conferences and rubbing shoulders with other transit/bike people; I still can't believe people take me seriously as young professional; I'm shocked when people look to me for answers; I get excited when I think about all the things I could do.

And then there's days like today, where it all came together for one pretty awesome event. I'm on a committee that puts on the annual Built Environment and the Outdoors Summit. I was asked to speak, along with the planner from Wichita, about the Topeka Bikeways Master Plan and its implementation. Since I'm a procrastinator, I didn't put my slides together until Monday evening. However, the presentation went great! I don't particularly enjoy being the center of attention, but I don't mind giving presentations--just don't ask me to make small talk afterward with those who were  listening!
My boss snapped this pic of me presenting. Seriously, I just can't believe I'm a working professional who gets to talk about bikes to other people.

After the conference I co-led a Walk Audit through Topeka to Old Prairie Town, where we were having a social for the conference attendees. It was a really great day and night, which helps when I sometimes think "What am I doing in Kansas??".

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ticket Stub Tuesday

I saw Frost/Nixon in New York the day before I left for Salt Lake to work for Sundance for six weeks. I really loved the movie. It was nominated for Best Picture that year but lost to Slumdog Millionaire, even with Ron Howard directing. All the performances in the film are great.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Learning to Spell

My sister sent me this photo of Mo spelling skeleton:


My nieces and nephews never fail to make me laugh with how they see words

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Royals Hunt for October

Friday night was spent at K Stadium where the Royals beat the Rangers 2-1. The game had a lot of hits but not a lot of runs. In the bottom of the 8th, tied at 1 all, the Royals had the bases loaded and the Rangers' pitcher walked the hitter! I really know nothing about baseball strategy, but this seemed dumb. However, I guess it's better than the possibility of a home run being hit, and therefore putting the Rangers behind by four instead of two. This play, coupled with the closer pitcher putting it away in the 9th, made the Royals win the game.  (I claimed in previous posts and to numerous people that the Royals have won every game I've attended, however this only proves that my memory is rather awful--they lost the first game I attended when they played the Cardinals on Memorial Day. So they've won every game I've attended with other people. )

The Royals won the World Series in 1985. Since then, however, they have not made it to the post-season. This year, though, they have the slimmest of chances to claim the second wild card spot. They just essentially need to win every game the rest of the season, and other teams ahead of them need to lose. So I'm telling you there's a chance.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Grandma's Necklace

One time, rather randomly, my grandma sent me a necklace of hers in the mail. I hadn't asked for it. I hadn't noticed it while visiting and commented on it. I actually had never seen it before. But I liked it and was thankful to get it. The necklace is gold with a green diamond. I don't own any gold jewelery except a simple pair of hoops that I bought for the specific purpose of wearing with this necklace.

I wore this necklace today to church, as I almost always pair it with my green skirt because it matches. I like having a part of my Grandma that I can physically put on me. I don't know why one day she decided to send it to me, but I'm glad that she did.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Old Foto Friday

This is my niece Ivy. She's twelve now, but when this picture was taken in May 2010 she was just 9. She was in a performance with a local kids group, and I took this shot of her afterward with her Oscar. Last week she tried out for her school's production of The Little Mermaid. When she didn't get a part, instead of being bummed she told her mom she was  just glad she tried out and that there would be other plays. Amazing, right?! I really do love her so much.

And it turns out that she did get a part--she'll be playing Chef Louis! Now to check flights from MCI to SLC in November....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where You Want Me

For the closing hymn in church on Sunday we sang I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go. I was feeling rather emotional all during the meeting, and when it came time to sing this song I could barely get through without tears welling up. I've always found a lot of power in hymns and music and this moment was really strong. I wish I could explain what I was feeling and why the song touched a nerve. I'm still working that out myself.

Many times we don't "end up" where we think we will. Did I think I'd be in Kansas? Not ever. But oftentimes it's the expectations we've created that make us unhappy or unfulfilled, when really things are actually quite great. Sometimes we need to go where we're told to go and realize that we can be happy and useful in many different ways.

Monday, September 9, 2013

In the Paper

I've been busy at work organizing Topeka's first year participating in a yearly bike count. I've been recruiting volunteers, organizing those volunteers, then training those volunteers. When I first decided to do bike counts back in June or July, the dates in September seemed so far off. And now here it is and I hope all goes well. (I also hope it doesn't rain on Thursday between 10-2 and 5-7)

The local paper decided to do a story on the city doing bike counts. I did three training sessions, and they showed up at the one where I was least dressed like a professional and took pictures to put on the front page. Perhaps it's better than being on the front page with a helmet? Or worse, with helmet hair. Either way it's me on the front page which means all my co-workers will politely tease me about it, and will probably have it posted on my cubicle wall in the morning.  Just another day at work in Topeka.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Old Foto Friday

For a very brief moment, I wanted to be on stage in a play. Luckily my best friend was an actress and in drama and could get me the hook-up in being in the school play. The drama department was putting on A Midsummer Night's Dream and Lindsay was going to be Hermia (or was it Helena?). I decided I really wanted to be a fairy This is us backstage before one of the performances, fall 2000. I did not catch the acting bug.

Earlier in the week we had been outside at a park, hence Lindsay's sunburn line. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cricket, Cricket

This morning I was standing in my closet a very long time as I contemplated what to wear. It was going to be hot, so I was pretty sure I was going to wear a skirt. I had my hand on a hanger for a while, debating if that was really the skirt I was going to wear. And then my eye saw a black cricket sitting mere inches from my hand on a hanger.

I immediately recoiled my hand and stepped back. Now, if this had been a huge black spider I probably would've gone to work in my underwear. Somehow spiders are a lot more terrifying than crickets. When I see a spider, I immediately assign it the qualities of a villain--an evil thing out to make my life miserable, attack me at my most vulnerable moment, and possibly even kill me. Or at least do something very harmful.

This cricket was more of an annoyance. Why didn't Biscuit find it and eat it? How did it even get in my loft? Why would it want to be inside anyway? How do I get rid of it? I don't know the answer to any of those questions, but I hope it isn't still in here somewhere and starts making it's cricket noises while I'm trying to sleep.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ticket Stub Tuesday

I crossed into New York City on September 1, 2007 via the George Washington Bridge. It cost $12 to do so with the Penske truck we were in. I'll never forget crossing the bridge and entering my new neighborhood, feeling a little overwhelmed and, honestly, a little unprepared. I found my apartment and was greeted by Maria, my new roommate. Then Rosemary showed up with a contingency of people from the ward to help us both move in.

I really do keep everything. Some call it being "packrat" but I prefer the term sentimental.

Labor Day Baseball

Royals game with some friends on Labor Day. There were two Mariners fans in the group, one vocal (to be fair, she's a singer) and one less vocal (to be fair, they're only his third favorite team), and the rest probably indifferent. Except for me. I will note that the Royals have won every game I have attended, so...

We had amazing seats on the first base line in the shade! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Old Foto Friday

I arrived in New York City with all my stuff  Saturday, September 1, 2007, making it six years ago tomorrow. My apartment was on floor 6. Thankfully my building had an elevator, but not a fancy one with lots of space. So moving required unloading stuff from the truck into the lobby, into the elevator, out of the elevator, then eventually into my apartment. It was also the only one in the building, so occasionally we'd have to wait while residents needed to use it.

So I was possibly a little tired when this picture was snapped.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So Far in Portland...

I left Saturday afternoon in preparation for my 6am flight to Portland for a bike facility and design conference. A few things that have happened:
--nearly dying in the humidity while walking around downtown Kansas City
--having a mild heart attack and being on the brink of tears when I thought I had lost my wallet
--realizing that purchasing a travel pillow was the best investment I've ever made
--getting to my seat on my flight from SLC to PDX and having a gentleman offer to trade me seats so he could sit with his wife. His seat was in first class, and I'll tell ya, first class is not at all like regular class. You get a blanket and a pillow and they don't care what you do.
--taking a cab from the airport to my hotel
--riding in the run during Sunday Parkways
--seeing people on bikes using the infrastructure. Super cool.
--Powell's Book Store
--riding the streetcar, standing in the rain, walking the city streets
--realizing that attending a conference in Portland means you get a lot of vegan and gluten-free food options

Friday, August 23, 2013

Old Foto Friday

When my roommate Rosemary went to Italy for six weeks, she rented her room out. Sometimes you don't know what you'll get, but Stefanie was pretty awesome. She was adventurous and obsessed with Tina Fey (and who can blame her, Tina Fey is awesome). She introduced me to the Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy troupe in lower Manhattan that saw the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler come through the door.

On Sunday evenings they had a free show, called AsssCat. Since it's free, though, a lot of people want to attend and you generally had to get there early and camp out for most of the evening. Stefanie met these awesome people her first week standing in line, and when I showed up the second week we took this picture.

You never know who you'll meet standing in a line for a free show in New York City. But these girls are all super cool and  normal. I even keep in contact with most of them. New York is pretty awesome.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Some 'Splainin' To Do

Today I went to lunch with some friends from church who work in Topeka. Half of us know each other from church, while the other half were co-workers of a friend who were not members of our church. They all live in Lawrence, so when I said I live in Topeka but go to church with them, they questioned why I traveled so far for church. I simply said, "Because I'm single." They looked sort of surprised, and questioned why that meant I had to go to church in Lawrence. Was I banned and or not welcome from going to a church here in Topeka?

I stumbled upon some sort of explanation, but thankfully someone else offered a much better explanation than me: it's the same church, but the congregation is made up of single people and/or students. I choose to go to this church instead of my regular one in Topeka for social reasons.

There's been many other instances where I've used jargon common to people in Utah and Idaho who are surrounded by a large amount of Mormons. Sometimes I forget that people here in Kansas have no idea what I'm talking about when I say ward, YSA and FHE; even the term Bishop has a different meaning to people of different denominations. I find myself trying to find ways to explain it in well-known church vernacular, such as congregation instead of ward, and using the actual words instead of the acronym. It keeps me on my toes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ticket Stub Tuesday

I'm going to Portland next week for work. It's basically all I can think about. Mainly because I love cities, I love traveling, I love new places, I love staying in hotels. Em and I made a visit to Portland during Fall Break 2011. On our visit, since we were tired from walking, and a theater was right across the street from our hotel, we stopped in to see The Ides of March. This movie had a lot of buzz because Hollywood loves George Clooney and not only did he start in this film but he also directed it and produced it and wrote the screenplay. The movie, however, lived up to its buzz.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Running Buddy

I've always been a solo runner. Like my general attitude in life, it's easier if I can just get up and run when I want and not have to coordinate with someone else. However this also means there is no outside motivation or accountability to anyone other than myself. And that means I don't do a whole lot of running.

Amber, after our Color Vibe 5k in June, got the running bug and got us signed up for another 5k. We're doing the Glow Run 5k in Lawrence in October. I haven't been running since our last 5k. This morning, however, I took advantage of Amber's motivation and running schedule and met up with her at Gage Park to do a morning run.

We set her Nike app to a 5k distance, and it turns out that running with a buddy is awesome! It actually speeds up your time, as Amber ran her fastest 5k she's ever done. I found motivation to run. And we were able to talk during our running and walking spurts. It was kind of awesome, and I'm already looking forward to our run next Saturday (despite the creeper in the park following us in his car).

We unfortunately have different schedules during the week, so I'll be on my own to keep the motivation going Monday thru Friday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Old Foto Friday

My sister came out in February 2008 to visit me and attend a Matchbox Twenty concert. This was my first time seeing family since moving to NYC in September.  I got time off work so I could show her all the cool stuff there was to do in the City. February in the City, however, can be quite chilly, and our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge was a cold one. (I have a picture of the two of us together that we asked a stranger to take, but I can't find it....)

When we parted ways at the airport security station, I went into the bathroom and had a good little cry in a stall. Even though I loved living in New York and knew it was where I was supposed to be, there were times when I really missed my family. It was a difficult time with work and such and I liked not having to focus on that for the week Em was there. I quit my job at a production office right after that, and it was actually a really great choice.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Six Months in Kansas

Today marks six months since I arrived in Kansas. Here's what I've done by the numbers.
Cars owned: 2
Cats I've brought home: 1
Dates: can count on more than one hand, but less than two
Trips to Salt Lake: 2
Royals games attended: 3
Trips to KC for fun: 3
Trips to KC for work: 4
Talks given in church: 1
Trips to Wichita: 2 (both for work)
Bike rides: 4
Trips to Chipotle: 7
Left my keys inside my loft: 3 (was 2 until this evening)
Asked if I was a Mormon: 3
Actually asked if I was conservative (as opposed to assuming, and being surprised at the answer): 1
People I've met who know people I know: 3
Spiders seen: 1 (and it was itty bitty)

Not a bad six months.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ticket Stub Tuesday

If you remember '98 (and who doesn't), you might remember that Drew Barrymore was having a moment. It was the time after Scream but before Never Been Kissed. That summer she starred in The Wedding Singer and Ever After: A Cinderella Story. Not huge box-office money-makers, but respectable bows nonetheless. Then there was Home Fries, released that November. She played fast food worker Sally Jackson, impregnated by a married man whose step-son (who was her then-boyfriend Luke Wilson) falls in love with her when he's supposed to kill her. I know that sounds strange and not funny, but the movie is quirky and entirely full of dark humor. It's a hard tone to set but the film does it well.


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